A superb second-half brace from Callum Chippendale gave Matlock Town an encouraging 2-0 victory over Derby County U21 on Friday evening in a pre-season friendly at The Proctor Cars Stadium.

The Gladiators have now registered two pre-season friendly victories in a row and are gaining momentum ahead of the 2022/23 campaign which begins on the 13th of August when Paul Phillips's side host Whitby Town in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

The young Rams side had the better of the opening 20 minutes as the Gladiators took a little while to find their feet. The visitors had an effort that sailed over the bar after only two minutes and striker George Nunn should have done better with a free header from 12 yards out which was aimed straight at Gladiators goalkeeper Jim Pollard after just seven minutes played. Derby County U21 had another chance to take the lead in the 18th minute when Nunn once again found space inside the penalty area but his effort was lifted a couple of metres over the bar.

Armelindo Mema went on an excellent run in the 34th minute from the left wing to the centre of play on a quick counter but his effort from the edge of the penalty area was dragged disappointingly wide of the post when he should have at least hit the target.

The best opportunity of the first half fell to Matlock though just three minutes before the interval. Young Rams goalkeeper Harry Evans was forced into an impressive save at his near post to concede a corner following a rasping 12 yard effort from Trialist B.

The Gladiators stepped it up a couple of gears after the restart and were certainly the better team in the second half as Derby's U21 side appeared to fatigue quickly.

Midfielder Callum Chippendale took full advantage of this with an excellent ten minute spell that won the game for the hosts. In the 53rd minute, Chippendale's looping header sailed past Evans from 15 yards out and found the back of the net to give Paul Phillips's side the lead.

Chippendale then doubled Matlock's advantage on the hour mark with an outstanding scissor kick finish from inside the penalty area that found the top corner. An extremely early contender for goal of the season perhaps!

The remainder of the game was somewhat of a non-affair due to a string of substitutions introducing more trialists for the hosts and a young Rams side that had run out of steam. The Gladiators were on cruise control for the final half an hour and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at Causeway Lane.

Next up for Matlock Town is another home pre-season friendly this coming Tuesday evening - this time around they host Sheffield FC who play one tier below the Gladiators.

Matlock Town team: Pollard, Ferguson, Higgins, Evans (c), Sharman, Lenighan, Chippendale, Trialist A, Day, Trialist B, Trialist C. Used subs: Trialist D, Ogden, Blakeley, Trialist E, Trialist F, Trialist G, Potts.

Attendance: 571

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