Walker brace secures victory for the Reds
Reds secured the three points on offer following a battling performance against the Gladiators.
Though the final scoreline looked comfortable, Reds had to work hard for the win and it was a dominant opening and closing ten minutes that enabled the victory.
Reds’ manager Dave Hewson recognised this stating, “We played well for twenty minutes, the first ten and the last ten, other than that we weren’t at it”.
“The most important thing is the three points”.
The bright start resulted in a Reds goal on five minutes. Conor Tinnion found Sam Joel out wide on the left with a great pass from central midfield at Sam Joel, racing at the defence squared the ball for Jason Walker to sweep into the net from eight yards out.
The Matlock skipper Shaun Harrad only received a verbal warning from referee John Mulligan for a late challenge on Jason Walker that upended the veteran striker, a leniency Mulligan showed throughout the game.
Brad Hubbold then sent a good cross in from the right flank but Jason Walker’s header was wide of the mark.
Brad Hubbold was again involved when he got the better of a defender and fired a fierce shot from an angle that ‘keeper Richard Walton did well to get a hand to.
Matlock’s only significant threat came from Michael Williams, looking suspiciously offside but no flag was raised, he bore down on ‘keeper Aaran Taylor but his shot lacked conviction and was easily saved by Taylor.
Matlock were forced to make two substitutions prior to half-time, Jordan Chapell limped off after a challenge by Jamie Mellen and Jamie Jackson, who had been a threat with his pace, replaced by Ashton Hall with the later slotting into defence allowing Shaun Harrad to resume his usual position up front.
Reds ended the half in the ascendancy with Sam Joel driving a shot from the edge of the area that Richard Walton got down well to deny his effort.
Matlock levelled the scores on fifty minutes after Shaun Harrad put in an inviting cross from deep on the right that Michael Williams directed past Aaran Taylor in goal with a stooping header from six yards out.
The goal gave Matlock a new lease of life and the match was fairly even, Reds had a Jason Walker shot easily saved and a Max Brown effort directed at the keeper.
Jake Green, for the visitors, fired a shot that Taylor did well to save low down to the keeper's right.
Kieran Maguire replaced Max Brown on sixty-five minutes bringing a bit more physicality to the Reds’ attacking line and quickly won a free kick, fouled battling for the ball.
Conor Tinnion floated a dangerous ball into the area but the ball was narrowly missed by all and went out for a goal kick.
The deadlock was broken on eighty-two minutes when Maguire won a free kick in perfect ‘Tinners’ territory, Maguire had beaten one Matlock player but was brought down by a second.
Twenty-five yards out and central to the goal, Conor Tinnion lifted the ball over the wall and into the top corner of the net for a textbook finish. Unstoppable.
Reds confirmed the three points three minutes later when Niall Cowperthwaite floated an inviting free-kick into the area that had goal written all over it and Jason Walker duly obliged rising to head home from close range.
Sheldon Mossop replaced Sam Joel immediately after the goal and Walker nearly completed his hat-trick in the final minute of regulation time but his fierce shot crashed against the post with Kieran Maguire unable to get the rebound on target.