REPORT: Gladiators thrash Radcliffe in the league

Updated: Feb 6, 2020

Matlock Town secured a much needed league win on Tuesday night after easily beating Radcliffe 4-0 to move one place up to 17th in the Northern Premier League and steer three points clear of the relegation zone.

Goals from Nathan Valentine, Piteu Crouz, James Tague and debutant Brian Wilson meant that Paul Phillips has gained four points from six in his opening two games as Matlock’s manager.

The Gladiators took the initiative right from the start and quickly took the lead. In the 7th minute, Spencer Harris cleverly found space on the edge of the penalty area to back heel a through ball to feed the surging run of Tomas Poole. Poole fought off a defender before squaring the ball from the by-line and found Nathan Valentine who hammered the ball home from only three yards out. This was Valentine’s third goal for the Gladiators in only his fourth game for the club.

Matlock had an excellent opportunity after half an hour to double their lead but Chib Chilaka wasted a glorious chance by rushing into a shot from 20 yards out when he had plenty of time to advance on the keeper. Chilaka dragged his effort horribly wide but the Gladiators maintained their quick tempo and more opportunities kept coming their way.

Radcliffe’s chances of getting back into the match took a huge blow when Callum Dolan received a straight red card in the 35th minute for aggressive conduct towards Adam Yates in an off the ball incident.

The Gladiators made quick work of the numbers advantage and went 2-0 up in the 42nd minute when Nathan Valentine’s smart through ball found Piteu Crouz in plenty of space. The Cameroonian winger had plenty of time to advance on Radcliffe’s keeper and Crouz slotted the ball home confidently from 12 yards out to put the Gladiators well in control by half time.

The Gladiators really impressed in the second half and completely dominated the last 45 minutes. Radcliffe showed very little threat of pulling off a comeback and played like a team extremely low in confidence.

In the 62nd minute, Piteu Crouz rushed into a shot from just inside the penalty area when he had plenty of time to advance a little further and square the ball to any one of a queue of Matlock players waiting to pounce. Ultimately, Crouz’s attempt to beat Oliver Martin at his near post was easily denied by the Boro keeper. Chib Chilaka then had another excellent chance to add his name to the score sheet when his header from eight yards out after an excellent right wing delivery from Tomas Poole was struck firmly but unfortunately straight at Oliver Martin in net.

In the 83rd minute, the Nigerian striker beat two defenders but agonisingly couldn’t slot the ball past Martin. Instead, his one on one effort was just met by Martin’s fingertips and the ball bounced off the post. It would have been a just reward for Chilaka if that had gone in considering his excellent work rate on the night in where he practically ran himself into the ground by leading the line for the full 90 minutes.

The Gladiators eventually and deservedly added two more to their tally just before the final whistle. In the 87th minute, Piteu Crouz exploited a visibly tiring Boro defence by feeding a lovely through ball into the penalty area for James Tague to run onto. Tague fought off a defender before slotting the ball past Oliver Martin to make it 3-0. Just before the final whistle there was a moment of magic when Brian Wilson made it a debut to remember when he collected a loose ball from the Boro defence and curled a gorgeous 25 yard effort into the back of the net to make it 4-0 to the Gladiators.

Overall, it was an excellent performance from the Gladiators and was a rare case for the current season where Matlock showed a killer instinct in front of goal and put a weak opposition to the sword.

Matlock Town: Stewart, Yates (c), Wiley, Dean, Harris (Gordon 59), Gooda, Crouz, Valentine (Tague 82), Chilaka, Goldthorp (Wilson 66), Poole.

Unused Substitutes: Bramall, Scrivens.

Attendance: 297


Paul Phillips Quotes

On the game:

“Brilliant, it started off a bit frantic, but the work rate? There was nothing left on the pitch when they came off. That’s all I asked for. For me, we worked harder, we wanted to score goals…it was everything that I’m building this team up to be…as a unit and as a squad, we deserved everything we got tonight…we create our own standards, you don’t get anything by not working hard, we got the pods on tonight to make sure we’re getting the right data to find out how far we’re running and what we’re doing off the ball. Teams are no good just having the ball. When we’re out of possession, we’ve got to keep our shape, work our socks off and make sure that we get back in and make it hard for the other team to score…we should be climbing up this league now and really pushing on. We’ve took four points from six, I wanted six from six but, for me, it’s a springboard for a tough game now away against Warrington on Sunday. It’ll be a physical game but we’ve just got to keep this going. I don’t want this to be a false dawn or a honeymoon period just because a new manager has come in because I won’t stand for that. We’ve got four games in the space of about eight or nine days, so people will get chances and they’ve just got to make sure they take them.”

On new loan signing Eliot Goldthorp:

“It only got done today, so fair play to the lad, he’s made his way down here at the last minute. He contributed well. He’ll bring a decent set piece delivery, he’s a decent player. He can put his foot in, he wants to battle, he’s not an academy player, so he really wants to be part of a group going forward. We’ve got a good group here and if we can integrate him into that with one or two others, then I think we won’t be far short.”

On when Jack Rea and Luke Hinsley will return:

“Luke trained last Thursday and unfortunately he tried to get over his ankle but he’s going to be out for 2-3 weeks. Jack’s trained a little bit tonight but he’ll probably be out for a similar amount of time. Marcus Marshall’s now finished his last game of his suspension so it gives me a good problem going forward with the numbers that are wanting to be part of the squad…it’s a good headache when you have players wanting to put their names on the shirts.”

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