Gladiators hold rivals Alfreton
Matlock Town 2 Alfreton 2
by Ian Richardson
There were plenty of positives for Mark Atkins and Matlock fans to take from a good 2-2 draw with Conference Premier neighbours Alfreton on a baking hot Friday night at the Reynolds Stadium.
Matlock needed to show tremendous resilience during the opening half which was mostly Alfreton asking the questions.
Returning Matlock keeper Jon Kennedy was soon into action tipping away a fiercely struck Kristian Ramsay-Dickson drive in the third minute. Shortly afterwards Joe Leesley, playing in his former position at left back, had his first attacking foray which saw him cross for Holland to knock narrowly off target.
A probing 15th minute run from Alfreton’s Danny Meadows ended with a tame effort at Kennedy who then tipped away an excellent 20 yard volley by Paul Clayton.
Midfielder Tom Shaw shot inches too high before the pressure told when Conor Franklin met a fine diagonal pass to cross instantly for Clayton to tuck a clever finish beyond Kennedy.
Nick Fenton was yards wide with a header from Josh Law’s miscued shot before David Haggerty’s brilliant block stopped Shaw’sgoalbound shot from doubling Alfreton’s lead.
Lewis McMahon’s 25-yarder was well fielded by Ross Atkins at the other end, the on loan Derby goalkeeper being a touch fortunate to escape conceding a penalty when Corey Gregory was impeded in a mix-up with Fenton.
Both sides made changes and Matlock’s came off when substitute Anton Foster was brought down by Fenton and McMahon did the rest from 12 yards.
Almost instantly Matlock might have gone in front when Holland, in the clear, saw Atkins comfortably save his low shot.
Ben Tomlinson was less charitable, however, finishing neatly to give Alfreton the lead for the second time and it needed a fine diving save by Kennedy to prevent Aaron Webster from making it three.
But Matlock did not lie down and Foster again was prominent, energetically breaking down the right to feed Gregory whose scuffed shot was turned in by Holland.
Both sides searched for a winner in an entertaining game with Matlock coming closest as Leesley cut in from the right to shoot powerfully but inches too high.
Matlock: Kennedy, Dennis, Leesley, Scully, Haggerty, Yates, Gregory, Ashmore, Holland, McMahon, White. Subs used: Foster, Gaughan, Radford, Griffith-Junior, Wilkinson, Snodin
Ref: Nick Hopton ( Derby)
For a video slideshow of images from this game, see www.matlockmercury.co.uk.