Gladiators end the season with another five-goal haul

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Gladiators hit five goals for the second successive home match as they completed their season with another victory on Saturday, beating Bradford (Park Avenue) 5-2.

John Johnston led the way with a hat-trick with Ollie Clark and Liam Hardy completing the nap hand while for already relegated Avenue, Adrien Thibaut and the experienced James Hanson hit the target.

It was the visitors who had the first chance, some slack play on Matlock’s part leading to Ted Lavelle firing over the bar from the edge of the box in the opening minute.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Matlock would then knock the stuffing out of the Yorkshiremen with two quick goals.

John Johnston hit a hat-trick for Matlock.John Johnston hit a hat-trick for Matlock.
John Johnston hit a hat-trick for Matlock.

Nat Crofts was the architect of the first, skipping around Lucas Odunston before setting up Clark to sweep home in the 6th minute. Two minutes later it was two as terrible Avenue defending was again punished in the most severe fashion, Johnston running into the box to shoot emphatically beyond Craig Ellison.

It might have been worse for Bradford as Johnston again made hay down the right before crossing low and Crofts fired wide.

There was little to note in the next 30-odd minutes save for a yellow card for Armond for tripping Jordan Preston and the withdrawal of Ioan Evans through injury, Nathan Whitehead slotting in alongside George Wilkinson at the heart of the defence.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With half time looming both sides missed great chances, firstly Jake Daniels for Avenue breaking free unattended down the centre to screw his shot wide with only Saul Deeney to beat. Almost immediately Liam Hardy was free in the box for the Gladiators but he too drove wide with only Ellison in front of him.

So Matlock had a comfortable lead at the interval and within five minutes were setting about stretching their two goals advantage.

Johnston saw his strike blocked by Ellison five minutes in and soon afterwards Harry Wood shot too high, the drive coming after both Crofts and Johnston had shooting opportunities.

But a picture book goal finally extended Matlock’s lead after 63 minutes, a Joe West cross from the left being helped on exquisitely by Clark for Hardy to score with aplomb giving Ellison no chance with one of his trademark finishes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Avenue barely had time to recover from that blow when they conceded again within four minutes, Ellison coming far out of his goal and Johnston was quick to spot this and he lobbed deliciously over him and into the vacant net from distance.

Having conceded two quick goals Avenue managed to score twice in quick succession themselves, Thibaut netting from close range after a shot was deflected into his path and then from a corner on the left Hanson headed in from close range to set one or two nerves jangling in the 802 crowd.

But the fans need not have worried for on 78 minutes Matlock broke clear through substitute Curtis Durose who was sent tumbling just inside the box and with the minimum of fuss, Johnston completed his first Matlock hat-trick from the spot, sending Ellison the wrong way.

Thibaut was fortunate not to be red carded for an over the top challenge on Wood, referee Tom Hales brandishing only a yellow with Wood and Hanson also being separate incidents.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Armond fired against a post late on from man-of-the-match Johnston’s centre with West lifting a free-kick too high as Matlock ended the game and their season firmly on top.

A 15th place finish in the end in what has been a frustrating season. An interesting summer lies ahead.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.