Matlock Town beat Buxton for first pre-season win
Given that the Gladiators scraped together a line-up with Ollie Clark, Kemi Augustien, Nathan Crofts and John Johnston unfit and strikers Jonny Margetts and Reece Styche were on holiday, this was a major shock as few expected the hosts to topple their National League North visitors.
So it proved to be an unlucky return for Bucks manager Craig Elliott, his supporting staff of John McDermott and Richard Borysczuk plus players Jordan Barnett and Max Hunt. In fact it was Hunt who was culpable for Town’s winner, the giant defender tangling with Demidh and referee Harry Jones having no doubts as he pointed to the spot. Demidh did the rest, squeezing his shot under the diving Max Dearnley.
Up to that point Matlock had not threatened the Bucks’ goal with Matlock’s Saul Deeney being the slightly busier of two underworked number ones.
The hosts lost a trialist striker inside the opening five minutes after being poleaxed by an aerial challenge in midfield. That was quickly followed by Connor Kirby’s thirty five yarder searing inches too high and the hosts’ Joe West being handily placed to concede a corner from Kirby’s cross from the left. Hunt nodded a later corner comfortably wide before Jake Wright’s strong challenge on Deeney, the ball running loose for Wright to curl a disappointing shot into the sidenetting at the near post.
Dearnley was a safe pair of hands for the Bucks showing great prowess in the air to pluck out set pieces, he3 even got a touch on Demidh’s spot kick but failed to keep the ball out.
After the goal West saw his shot charged down following a partially cleared corner before Wright shot yards off target in a lightening break from the Bucks.
Elliott made wholesale changes at the interval, Matlock making just the two and it was the Gladiators who threatened first when the trialist goalkeeper needed two attempts to grasp a low free kick from Andrew Wright.
Matlock’s trialist goalkeeper brilliantly made a double block stop from two Bucks forwards as a clever through pass from Diego Degirolamo, often Matlock’s nemesis in past encounters created the opening.
Then it was deja-vu but at the opposite end as a trialist and Harry Wakefield might have doubled Town’s lead.
Buxton went full throttle towards the end, the nearest they came being when substitute Scott Boden chested and volleyed in one movement, but his shot was fielded well by the unnamed youngster between the sticks for the Gladiators.
Late on Degirolamo shot high and wide as Buxton failed to penetrate a Matlock back line which was as near perfect as perfect can be. Youngster Sam Hooper was exceptional alongside Andrew Wright in the engine room, their desire and pride in wearing the shirt shone through for all to see.
That fight spread throughout the side as in the end it earned them a morale boosting win, their first of pre season from their first and only goal to date.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Saul Deeney (Trialist GK 46) 2 Robbie McNicholas 3 Joe West (Trialist D 65) 4 Sam Hooper 5 Trialist A 6 Ioan Evans 7 Jamie Sharman 8 Andrew Wright 9 Harry Wakefield 10 Karl Demidh (Trialist E 46) 11 Trialist B (Trialist C 5, Trialist G 65) Not used: trialist F
BUXTON: 1 Max Dearnley 2 Connor Brown 4 Jack McCourt 6 Luke Shiels 7 Jake Wright 8 Connor Kirby 10 Tommy Elliott 11 Sam Osbourne 17 Jordan Barnett 15 Trialist A 32 Max Hunt Subs: 13 Trialist B 3 Nathan Newall 5 Josh Granite 8 Diego Degirolamo 14 Jordan Burrow 18 Trialist C 19 Sam Smart 23 Curtis Weston 24 Chris Dawson 25 Scott Boden
REFEREE: Harry Jones (Belper) ATTENDANCE: 448