Sports Defeat The Gladiators: Matlock Town (H)

by Lewis Radbourne, Junior Journo

After only one point from the last three matches Mickleover got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over promotion-chasing local rivals Matlock Town at the Don Amott arena.

Starting line-up: 1-Jonathan Hedge 2-Elliott Walker 3-Rhys Dolan 4-James Butler 5-Phil Watt 6-Kemy Agustien 7-Andy Dales 8-Ben Radcliffe 9-Shaquille McDonald 10-Stuart Beavon 11-Goerge Milner. Subs: George Atwal, Andrew Wright, Pablo Mills, Callum Niven, Kai Moore.

Matlock had the first chance of the game within the first three minutes, when their young keeper Joe Young threw a ball quickly down the left-hand side, falling to Ross Hannah, who picked it up on the half-turn, but his shot was deflected wide. 

Sports then started getting a foothold in the game, when  McDonald blazed a chance high and wide after some good work down the right-hand side.

The home side then had some great build up play down the left wing, with left-back Dolan skipping past three Matlock players with ease, before putting in a low cross for McDonald, only for his mishit shot falling for Radcliffe, who shot wide. 

Despite Sports growing in the half, Matlock were not without their chances. Hannah yet again with another chance, this time a half-volley from the left-hand side of the box, but it went straight into the hands of Sports keeper Hedge. 

One minute later and Mickleover penalty shouts were waved away after it appeared to the players that McDonald had been fouled inside the box, but a free-kick was given instead, which McDonald took himself, but it flashed just wide of the post. 

Two minutes later and Sports took the lead through veteran striker Beavon, when he put in a rebound from close range after Dales’ shot was initially blocked. 1-0.

It was a fairly quiet end to the first half, with Matlock having one chance after the goal, with some neat play down the right from Marcus Marshall and Alex Byrne, before a cross was put to the back post for Reece Kendall to head just wide. 

Mickleover took the 1-0 lead into half-time, but were on the back foot at the start of the second half, when the visitors almost equalised, when Ryan Qualter rose highest from a free-kick, only for his header to force an excellent reflex save from Hedge. 

Like the first-half Mickleover then again started to get a foothold in the second half, and on the hour mark almost made it two, when McDonald hit the post after a fantastic counter-attack from Sports, when Dales squared it for McDonald from the right-hand side, only for the striker to miss a near open goal.  

Matlock were not out of it though, and nearly bounced back themselves just minutes afterwards, when Kendall struck again, when the ball fell to him inside the box, only for his shot to sting the hands of Hedge in the Sports net. 

Mickleover then went down the other end and got their two-goal lead through loanee Radcliffe, who got on the end of a McDonald cross and headed the ball right into the top-left corner to double Sports’ lead. 2-0.

The away side were quick to respond however, pegging Mickleover back just four minutes later, when a goalmouth scramble ended up in Ioan Evans managing to score to half the deficit. 2-1.

In what was a noticeably quiet end to the match like it had been in the first half, but it meant that Mickleover held on for their first win in four games.

The result means Mickleover move up the table two places to 18th, whilst Matlock’s promotion chances are damaged as they now fall seven points behind league leaders Buxton.

Sports are in action on Tuesday night when they visit Stalybridge Celtic , kick off 7.45pm.

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