Matlock Town 3, Burscough 1
Half time substitute Liam Wilkin provided the spark and the energy to pep up a predictable looking Matlock attack and unlock the Burscough defence’s door for the Gladiators’ third successive home win and their second league double of the campaign.
The contest was scoreless at the interval with Burscough having created virtually nothing, while the Gladiators persisted with the long ball which all too often was overhit.
But in the second half, Matlock improved immeasurably with Wilkin the catalyst, the former Winterton Rangers striker making the two opening goals.
The one thing missing for him was a goal with Ben Algar and a brace from Lewis McMahon accounting for Matlock’s tally.
Niall Cummins late strike was strictly in the consolation class for the bottom placed visitors, who to their credit, never threw in the towel.
The Gladiators made a purposeful start to the second half and when Yates found Algar on the right with a superb crossfield pass, Algar produced an inviting low centre into the danger area which his colleagues failed to read. Ellison then held an Algar strike but the respite was only brief as Wilkin’s penetrating pass found Algar in space to fire low beyond Ellison after 51 minutes.
After a 25-yarder from midfielder Phil Clarke bounced wide, Matlock netted for a second time in five minutes when Wilkin again was the provider, and McMahon scored for the third home game in a row, stroking his finish comfortably past Ellison.
Wilkin had made a big difference, but consistent throughout the 90 minutes was Bowler, who won his tackles well and linked play up nicely in the engine room.
Paul Riley came on for Algar midway through the half after returning from Eastwood Town and within three minutes Matlock had put the match well out of Burscough’s reach.
McMahon looked offside as he ran on to a ball played down the middle. It looked initially as if the visitors had been reprieved as the on-loan Gainsborough striker’s shot was blocked but he followed up to net the loose ball as Matlock scored three for the first time since January 7.
In a late rally Burscough finally got the goal they deserved when Cummins converted from close range after a game of pin ball in the Matlock box with a minute left.
The win was comfortable enough, but achieved chiefly through Wilkin’s introduction. He will be feeling he has shown enough to be in the running for a starting place in the upcoming games.
Matlock: Kennedy, Harcourt, Featherstone, King, Yates, Lukic, Bettney (Wilkin 46), Bowler, Holmes (Joynes 80), McMahon, Algar (Riley 68) Other sub: Buxton.
Pictured is Lewis McMahom who hit two goals against Burscough.