Matlock ease to victory over Ashton

Matlock eased to a 4-1 win at home to Ashton.Matlock eased to a 4-1 win at home to Ashton.
Matlock eased to a 4-1 win at home to Ashton.
The Gladiators chalked up their best win of the season with a 4-1 victory against a talented Ashton side who contributed to their own downfall with Matlock taking full advantage of the visiting sides’ mistakes.

A Declan Walker penalty, a bizarre Michael Raynes own goal, and strikes from Alex Byrne and skipper Liam Hughes saw Matlock home, Ben Hardcastle’s equaliser ultimately counting for nothing.

It all made up for a highly satisfactory afternoon for Matlock, with a healthy 532 crowd being cheered by this excellent victory.

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Callum Dolan replaced the injured Osebi Abadaki in the one change from the starting line up at Grantham a week earlier. Dolan came on and grabbed the winner at the South Kesteven Sports Stadium and he was soon causing problems for the Robins’ defenders.

In the 4th minute he sprinted forward on to a long pass which caused indecision between Raynes and goalkeeper Greg Hartley, the latter pulling Dolan down as he cut between them, DECLAN WALKER netting from the resulting penalty in spite of Hartley getting his right hand to the shot as it nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

Hartley was more fortunate five minutes later as Reece Kendall challenged for a high ball, reaping the benefit of referee Anthony Tankard’s whistle and Dolan continued to be a threat, getting the better of Raynes again before the experienced number five recovered with a vital saving tackle.

Matlock again defended well as Ashton pushed forward but one moment of slackness cost them a 27th minute equaliser. BEN HARDCASTLE and Liam Tomsett’s short corner routine on the right saw the hosts switch off and having initially taken the kick, Hardcastle threaded a low shot which may have taken a deflection to beat home custodian Shaun Rowley.

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Tomsett drove too high from distance before Ryan Qualter and Tomsett were yellow carded after an altercation close to the touchline, Tomsett being involved heavily at this time watching as his shot was deflected over the bar and then being fortunate to escape a second yellow card for a late challenge on Adam Yates.

Out of the blue, Matlock received a huge helping hand as they regained the lead in the 38th minute, RAYNES carelessly knocking an attempted back pass beyond Hartley who despite his best efforts to save his centre half’s blushes, could not stop the ball bouncing over the line for what could be one of the most incredible own goals of the campaign.

Chris Rowney brought down Dolan to be booked shortly before the interval before the half came to a close with Kendall nodding wide at the back post from a Hughes cross.

Dolan might have added to the Gladiators lead within five minutes of the restart, again sneaking in behind Raynes before cutting inside and firing against Hartley’s legs. Hughes was too high with another effort before Dolan was forced off with Andre Johnson being given another opportunity to stake his claim for a starting place.

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After a booking for Spencer Harris, Jake Cottrell and Louis Almond were both off target for Ashton before there was breathing space for the Gladiators in the 66th minute.

Walker fed Johnson whose neat turn initially mesmerised the Robins defence, the ball running loose to BYRNE on the right to fire a diagonal effort into the far corner for his first goal of the season.

Cesaire Lingouba was given his first taste of action in a Matlock shirt with sixteen minutes left, replacing Harris, the Matlock midfield impressing against a side whose midfield is rated it’s strongest area.

Byrne produced the spadework for the final goal on 79 minutes, an inch perfect long raking pass from the number seven finding HUGHES who chested the ball down to hit a first time volley beyond Hartley.

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Ashton sought a consolation with Rowley beating away a Sam Sheridan shot and Hardcastle striking a post but it was clearly Matlock’s day and a happy one in particular for the likes of manager Paul Phillips, Sam Egerton, Mark Lees and Kade Coppin who had previously served Ashton.

It was another strong Matlock display, with many nominees for the man of the match award, there being outstanding performances throughout the side.

The win puts Matlock in fifth spot, perhaps rueing that opening day defeat at Bamber Bridge. Since then they seem to be improving with every game.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Shaun Rowley 2 Adam Yates 3 Reece Kendall 4 Sam Egerton 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Alex Byrne 8 Spencer Harris (15 Cesaire Lingouba 74) 9 Liam Hughes 10 Callum Dolan (18 Andre Johnson 55) 11 Declan Walker (12 Andrew Bond 87) Other subs: 14 Kade Coppin 16 Craig King.

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ASHTON UNITED: 1 Greg Hartley 2 John Lofudu 3 Stavros Tserpes (15 Sam Sheridan 65) 4 Chris Rowney 5 Michael Raynes 6 Joshua Wilson 7 Liam Tomsett (12 Millenic Ali 58) 8 Jake Cottrell 9 Louis Almond 10 Ben Hardcastle 11 Louis Walters Other subs: 14 Michael Brewster 16 Joel Bemba-Leta 13 Daniel Eccles.

REFEREE: Anthony Tankard (Sheffield).


BEST GLADIATOR: Declan Walker.

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