Matlock ended their season with a below-par performance as hosts Marine thoroughly deserved their final day victory.
All the goals came in the second period after an even first-half when Matlock looked capable of bringing home at least a point.But the Mariners, who had their Premier Division safety confirmed seven days earlier and had their championship-winning squad of 20 years ago in attendance, stepped up the tempo after the interval.
The first-half was a stale, typically end of season affair with neither goalkeeper being troubled.
After Adam Yates had done well to deny Dale Wright with a fine challenge on the edge of the Matlock penalty box, Town broke to force a couple of fruitless corners before Martin Foster’s 25-yarder cleared the bar. At the other end Jack Broadhead exerted enough pressure to force Jones to shoot off target.
Corey Gregory was the next to shoot too high while Wright’s header from a corner fell wide.
Right on half-time Marine came closest to a first-half goal when Ian Latham’s powerfully struck 30 yard shot whistled over Jon Kennedy’s bar.
Immediately after the interval Kennedy was down swiftly to parry a Jones shot before Matlock had a fine chance to go in front when Liam Needham found himself up against goalkeeper Sean Lake in a one on one situation. It was Lake who came out on top, blocking Needham’s shot as his first goal of the season eluded him once again.
Danny Holland flicked a header wide from a Shaun Tuton cross and substitute Daryll Thomas saw a shot comfortably held by Lake but it was the Merseysiders who went in front and then never looked back.
A neat build up on the right saw the ball eventually find Will Jones who drilled a low shot beyond Kennedy. Shortly afterwards it was nearly two for Jones who fired across the face of goal.
Matlock had four forwards on now but failed to make significant inroads into the Marine defence.
Kennedy pulled off two superb saves to deny Jones either side of Marine doubling their lead in the 73rd minute when Matty Devine robbed Foster and had a clear run towards goal, keeping his cool to fire low into the corner.
Tuton volleyed wide from a Joe Leesley cross but Matlock now looked a spent force and when they failed to clear their lines effectively at the death, Lee Parle drove home the third to mean that an improved season had ended as a damp squib and a final placing of 12th.
Monday, April 26, 2014
Marine: 1 Sean Lake 2 Connor Roberts-Nurse 3 Michael Monaghan 4 Will Bell 5 John Shaw 6 Dale Wright 7 Andy Foster (Matty Devine 63) 8 Phil Clarke (Liam Rice 37) 9 Will Jones 10 Josh Sumner 11 Ian Latham (Lee Parle 84) Unused subs: Aaron Rey, Callum Williams
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Adam Yates 3 Joe Leesley 4 Martin Foster 5 Oscar Radford 6 Jack Broadhead (Daryll Thomas 37) 7 Liam Needham 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland 10 Shaun Tuton (Matt Andrews 84) 11 Corey Gregory (Massiah McDonald 63) Unused subs: Alex Bradshaw, Matty Leese
Ref: G Hilton Att: 369 Best Gladiator: Jon Kennedy
By Ian Richardson