Matlolck Town 0, Sheffield United XI 1
Just the finishing touch was missing from another promising Matlock performance as a youthful Blades won by the only goal of the game at the Reynolds Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Gladiators received a glowing report from the opposing manager Danny Wilson who told Matlock boss Mark Atkins that his Evo-Stik League side had been the better of the two teams and United were fortunate to go home with the win.
Certainly there was much to admire in the Matlock performance.
Gone it seems is the big hoof from last season, now the ball is played crisply through midfield, although the long ball is still sometimes effective.
Joynes drew applause for a neat turn 15 yards out before dragging his shot inches past the far post.
The busy Grayson found himself in space on the right only to disappoint with a poor cross but the former Frickley striker did better soon afterwards, latching on to an Adam Yates pass before leaving two defenders for dead in a weaving run before Long blocked his shot from an acute angle.
Lee Ellington and Ben Algar replaced Grayson and Hindley at the interval and within three minutes Ellington was intelligently feeding McMahon whose low cross from the left was scrambled away.
Then came the decisive moment as midfielder Eric Tonne got the better of Martin Foster, Matlock defenders then standing off and being punished as 25 yards from goal, Tonne shot low, hard and true past Jon Kennedy’s left hand in the 54th minute.
Club captain James Lukic replaced temporary skipper Lee Featherstone with James Ashmore and Joe Leesley also entering the fray for Gareth Davies and Joynes. Almost immediately Leesley nodded a clearance on towards Algar who checked his run and returned to the eighteen year old who chipped into Long’s hands.
Tonne and Ironside forced Kennedy to save well before Matlock dominated the final 20 minutes.
Matlock: Kennedy, Harcourt (Dennis 82), Roe, Foster (Bowler 80), Yates,Featherstone (Lukic 58), Hindley (Algar 46), Davies (Ashmore 58), Joynes (Leesley 58), McMahon,Grayson (Ellington 46) . .