Matlock Town secure comfortable win over Gainsborough Trinity
A pair of first half headers from Jerome Greaves plus another header in the second half from Ryan Qualter earned Matlock a comfortable August Bank Holiday Monday victory.
It was their fifth in succession and the third in a row without conceding , Matlock remaining in second gear for most of the contest. A youthful Trinity might even have had the slight majority of the possession but Matlock’s hard work, greater physical attributes and the fact that a more experienced and streetwise Matlock side saw Trinity held at arms length.
Town boss Paul Phillips made a couple of changes to the team victorious at Warrington . Jesurun Uchebgulam was not risked due to a slight hamstring complaint and Alex Wiles was rested although he was on the bench against his former club. Lirak Hasani slotted into his midfield spot while captain Liam Hughes returned, meaning Matlock had two giants in attack, both Hughes and Greaves being six foot plus.
The Gladiators could not have wished for a better start by surging in front inside two minutes., Hughes helping on a cross from the left by Dec Walker for GREAVES to head in.
Reece Kendall headed wide in the 7th minute and an acrobatic overhead effort from Hughes quickly followed, the ball dropping wide.
Referee Elliott Kaye was frustrating the home crowd and players with some puzzling decisions, one of which was a Gainsborough free kick some twenty five yards from goal in the 17th minute. Lewis Butroid’s excellent strike was kept out superbly by the diving Shaun Rowley.
The visitors suffered a blow when defensive king pin and skipper Lewis Carr limped off in the 22nd minute before another Butroid free kick was deflected for an unproductive corner.
But Gainsborough’s slight looking defence against the aerial power of Hughes and Greaves was exposed again on 31 minutes, Alex Byrne beating Butroid and delivering a delicious cross which was expertly glanced beyond Matt Yates which doubled the hosts’ lead.
Matlock came close again two minutes into the second half with Hughes feeding Byrne in a flowing move which saw Trinity close ranks in the nick of time to crowd out the former Gainsborough winger. Then from a free kick on the left, Byrne cheekily tried to catch out Yates at his near post, the strike hitting the sidenetting.
Matlock changed their Greaves’ shortly afterwards, Jerome getting a huge ovation as namesake Oli made his first appearance at the Proctor Cars Stadium. They ought to have been three up on 58 minutes, as they looked to want to walk the ball home, Greaves and Hughes both passed up the opportunity to shoot before Byrne pulled the trigger only for Yates to superbly block the shot.
Wiles replaced Hasani and might have scored with virtually his first touch, his shot being deflected for a corner which in any event led to the Gladiators third goal, RYAN QUALTER rising majestically at the far post to power in his header..
To their credit Gainsborough battled bravely on but it was always an uphill task for them and they will struggle against a lot of teams in the division who have established NPL players.
Rowley held a deflected strike from Toby Gould but Gainsborough were lucky to survive when they had terrible trouble in clearing a free kick from Byrne played accurately into their danger zone.
Byrne was ruled offside when he had the ball in the net following up a shot from Kendall before at the other end a marvellous tackle deep in the penalty box from Qualter denied Trinity the chance of a consolation.
Hughes twice went close in the closing stages before substitute Callum Chippendale drove at Yates after cutting in from the left.
Rowley tipped away a teasing cross from the overlapping full back Joe Wilson in stoppage time but the game had been long gone for Gainsborough, Matlock doing what they need to do to easily claim the three points.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Shaun Rowley 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Reece Kendall (15 Callum Chippendale 76) 4 Sam Egerton 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Alex Byrne 8 Lirak Hasani (16 Alex Wiles 65) 9 Liam Hughes 10 Dec Walker 11 Jerome Greaves (14 Oli Greaves 52) Other subs: 12 Ashton Hall 17 Jonathan Wafula
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY: 1 Matt Yates 2 Joe Wilson 3 Lewis Butroid (17 Jord Rangel 57) 4 Hayden Cann 5 Lewis Carr (12 Luca Buci 22) 6 Isaac Rice 7 George Holmshaw 8 Neal Bishop (15 Cieron Keane 68) 9 Jack Gibson 10 Alex Wollerton 11 Toby Gould Other subs: 14 Kyle Dixon 16 Ben Morris
REFEREE: Elliott Kaye (Heanor).
BEST GLADIATOR: Ryan Qualter.