Hannah's at the double as Matlock secure first win
NPL Premier Division
Matlock Town 2
Hannah 4, 17
Basford Utd 1
Matlock Town bounced back from their opening day defeat at Ashton United to beat a fancied Basford side more comfortably than the slender difference in the scoreline suggests.
It was a bittersweet night for Ross Hannah whose brace had Matlock two goals in front inside the opening 17 minutes. But midway through the second period, Hannah was controversially sent off when it was alleged he had used his elbow in holding off Stefan Galinski who dramatically slumped to the turf.
Chesterfield referee Jamie O’Connor instantly brandished his red card and despite his protests and those of his boss Paul Phillips, who was issued with a yellow card shortly afterwards, Hannah trudged despondently off for first use of the shower.
In what was far from a dirty game, Matlock also had debutant Jamie Sharman, Reece Kendall, Sam Egerton and Callum Chippendale booked, with Basford’s sole caution being that of James Clifton as Matlock seemed to receive the sharp end of many decisions.
Basford understandably had more of the play late on, but they seldom troubled Shaun Rowley and the consolation from Rev James three minutes from time flattered them.
Whereas Matlock deserved nothing at Ashton, the boot was clearly on the other foot this time.
Phillips made two changes, omitting Declan Walker and bringing in Sharman to play in a back three with Egerton and Ryan Qualter, with Jesurin Uchegbulam coming in to replace Lyrak Hasani. Latest signing Oli Greaves was on the bench.
After a first minute 30-yarder on the volley from Chippendale dropped comfortably wide, Matlock wasted little time in breaking their scoring duck for the season with a top quality goal.
With four minutes on the clock, the speedy Uchegbulam who was too hot for the Basford defence to handle, robbed Brad Gascoigne and skipped beyond Ryan Wilson on the Matlock right, advancing at pace and keeping his composure with the most accurate of crosses for Hannah to fire into the roof of the net.
Alex Byrne sent a shot from a short free-kick high and wide in the 11th minute before Basford won the first of a number of dubious free-kicks, Wilson shooting into Rowley’s arms.
Matlock then broke with a superb move begun by Alex Wiles and Chippendale, Uchegbulam again being the willing outlet, his cross narrowly eluding the onrushing Hannah.
But Hannah was celebrating again as Byrne did well to keep the ball in play on the goal line, a sleeping Galinski being culpable and with the ball loose, Matlock’s record goalscorer in a season slipped in to net from close range.
The chances dried up but Matlock were comfortably in control with Basford scarcely laying a glove on them, save for a back header by Galinski which struck a post from Wilson’s in-swinging free kick.
Matlock looked compact and strong, their covering and work rate being top draw as Basford struggled to find a way back into the tie.
Then came the red card, but still Basford showed a lack of urgency as Matlock compressed the game with Uchebgulam in particular being a willing workhorse as he pressurised the visiting rearguard.
Rowley held another Wilson free-kick before a tiring Uchebgulam was replaced by Kayde Coppin who did a fine job in holding up play in the final third.
Defensively Matlock were imperious and they could count themselves unlucky when a magnificent blocked clearance ricocheted conveniently for James to slot past Rowley from close range.
Matlock had three more minutes plus six added on to negotiate. Sensing an unlikely point Basford went route one but Matlock never looked in serious trouble and held on with relative ease to earn their first win of the season.
It proved to be an unhappy return to their old club for Basford’s Wilson, Gascoigne and Marcus Marshall plus unused substitute goalkeeper Jordan Pierrepont.
For Matlock it was a job well done in front of a healthy 518 crowd, the vast majority of whom would be delighted with their team’s performance and the result.
Matlock: Rowley, Sharman, Kendall, Egerton, Qualter, Lees, Byrne, Wiles (Wafula 84, Hannah, Uchebgulam (Coppin 80), Chippendale (Walker 90).
Not used: Greaves, Carney.
Basford: Collin, Roma (Betts 78), Wilson, Gascoigne, Galinski, Dunn, Clifton, Howes (Hines 84), Marshall, O'Connor, Peters (James 46)
Ref: James O'Connor