Matlock Town produced their best performance of the season so far to beat Derbyshire rivals Mickleover Sports 3-1 in the Northern Premier League at the Proctor Cars Stadium.
A record attendance for this season of 729 witnessed Dan Bramall, Luke Hinsley and Sam Scrivens secure victory in an entertaining match to push the Gladiators up into fourth position in the league and to make it a Non-League Day to remember.
Matlock started the match confidently on the front foot and were rewarded very early on when they took the lead in the 4th minute of the game. Dan Bramall, on his return from a three match suspension, found space inside the penalty area to cut in on his right and calmly strike the ball home from 12 yards out and out of Lewis Jones’s reach. The early goal set the tone of the match, with the first half in particular being an end to end encounter.
The Gladiators should have doubled their lead as early as the 12th minute when Bramall, who was superb all game, delivered an excellent cross from the left wing which was met by the head of in-form Luke Hinsley from eight yards out. Hinsley should have done better though with this opportunity as his header lacked conviction and the ball found itself going wide of the post rather than nestling into the net.
Mickleover’s first big opportunity arrived in the in the 26th minute when Jon Stewart made an outstanding point-blank save to deny veteran forward Lee Hughes from heading in from only six yards out. Mickleover then smacked the bar from a free-kick 25 yards out.
The rebounding ball then lead to a counter-attack move down the left wing for Matlock. Dan Bramall impressed again as his surging run waltzed past a couple of defenders but his eagerness got the better of him and he rushed his shot from just outside the area and his attempt ballooned high and wide.
Mickleover found an equaliser in the 33rd minute. An excellent delivery from the right wing found the head of Lee Hughes again and this time he was able to steer his header past Jon Stewart and into the net. The equaliser only seemed to make Matlock even more determined to put an end to their losing run though.
In the 40th minute, Luke Dean’s long-range shot was well tipped over by Lewis Jones and Dwayne Wiley also had an effort on target which was saved comfortably from the resulting corner.
Matlock Town took the lead again with just a minute left of the first half when Luke Hinsley cut inside and scrambled the ball home from close-range for his fourth goal of the season. Lewis Jones got a hand to Hinsley’s effort but it wasn’t strong enough to prevent the Gladiators from being in the lead at half-time.
The timing of Matlock’s second goal really seemed to knock the stuffing out of Mickelover and instead of sitting back on their lead, the Gladiators started the second half just as brightly as the first and would go on to dominate the final 45 minutes and could quite easily have gone on to win by more than a two goal margin.
Mickleover’s final chance of the match was when Pablo Mills struck an incredible 30 yard free-kick which was only denied by an absolutely superb diving save from Jon Stewart.
Any encouragement Mickleover may have had from that effort was soon extinguished as on-loan Sam Scrivens scored his very first goal from Matlock Town to make it 3-1 to the Gladiators in the 53rd minute. Scrivens linked up beautifully with Marcus Marshall for a well-worked one-two and Scrivens slotted the ball home from 15 yards out with composure in a carbon copy of the style of Dan Bramall’s opening goal.
From this point on, the Gladiators really turned on the style and played some lovely, free-flowing football. Mickleover’s response to this was somewhat physical to say the least and were incredibly lucky to end the match with a full set of eleven players after a series of robust and late challenges.
In the 71st minute, Matlock once again attacked via the left wing. A pass found Marshall with plenty of space from 20 yards out and his effort only just went wide of the post. Only a minute later, Matlock again found acres of space down the left wing. A surging run from Bramall resulted in a cross which found Luke Hinsley in the area. Hinsley attempted to volley the ball in from 12 yards out but his effort narrowly went over the bar.
Matlock’s last opportunity to extend their lead arrived in the 83rd minute when Marcus Marshall found himself with more space than he realised inside the penalty area and his tame shot was comfortably saved by Jones when he should have done better.
Matlock’s victory in this Derbyshire Derby firmly put an end to their three match losing run and they’ll be looking to repeat this performance this coming Tuesday evening in the league at home to Warrington Town.
Matlock Town: Stewart (C), Lacey (Yates 67), Gordon, Dean, Gooda, Wiley, Scrivens, Harris, Hinsley, Marshall (Smith 90), Bramall (Crouz 83).
Unused Substitute: Sinnott, Williamson.