Joe Malkin 70′
- Ross Durrant
- Lee Beevers
- Bradley Beatson
- Michael Hollingsworth
- Dwayne Wiley
- Adam Yates (c)
- Michael Williams
- Greg Tempest
- Craig Westcarr
- Jamie Jackson
- Craig King
Luke Hinsley for Michael Hollingsworth (76′)
Nathan Whitehead for Michael Williams (79′)
Jordan Chapell for Bradley Beatson (90′)
- Will Jaaskelainen
- Jamie Morgan
- Louis Barnes
- Joel Stair
- Toby Mullarkey
- Caspar Hughes (c)
- James Lawrie
- Matt Bell
- Joe Malkin
- Sean Cooke
- Callum Saunders
Joe Mwasile for Callum Saunders (58′)
Ricardo Fuller for Joe Malkin (76′)
Joe Malkin’s sixth league of the season was the difference as the Dabbers recorded a hard fought 1-0 win over Matlock Town in difficult Derbyshire conditions.
Malkin pounced in the six-yard box after Joe Mwasile had been tripped following a fine driving run, with referee Ian Johnston happy to give the visitors the advantage allowing the striker to fire home.
Manager Dave Cooke was able to pick from a fully fit squad ahead of the game, with new signing Ricardo Fuller coming in on the bench and Malkin leading the line alongside Callum Saunders.
On a difficult pitch, both teams struggled to gain control in the opening stages as Malkin was inches away from converting Saunders’ cross after good work down the right hand side from the former Crewe man.
The Dabbers enjoyed success down the right hand side and it was Jamie Morgan’s turn to beat his man as he cut the ball back to Malkin in the box, but the forward was unable to direct his effort on target.
Malkin did manage to fire his next effort on target though but was denied by a fine fingertip save from Matlock keeper Ross Durrant following Sean Cooke’s fine through ball.
Despite having a fair amount of the ball, the hosts were unable to test Will Jaaskelainen in the Dabbers goal with the visiting defence able to deal with plenty of crosses and long throw ins.
Durrant continued to be the busier goalkeeper and he was called into action again midway through the half as he palmed away Toby Mullarkey’s long range effort around the post, before gathering Saunders’ flicked header from the resulting corner.
Up the other end Dwayne Wiley headed wide when well placed from Craig King’s corner, before Jamie Jackson was inches away from converting Michael Williams’ dangerous right wing cross.
The second period followed in a similar fashion to the first, and a combination of Joel Stair and Matt Bell were able to deal with a dangerous low ball from Craig Westcarr, after the forward had found space in the Dabbers box.
Bell then saw his controlled volley saved by Durrant moments later after Mullarkey had set the midfielder up heading Cooke’s corner to his team mate on the edge of the box.
As per the first half, Durrant was the busier keeper and he saved well from Malkin after the striker’s neat footwork allowed him a shot on goal, before the Gladiator’s stopper was alert to palm away Louis Barnes’ deflected cross that was heading for the net.
From the resulting corner, the Dabbers worked the ball well down the left hand side before finding Mullarkey on the edge of the box, with the defender’s effort flying inches over the crossbar.
The Dabbers’ second half pressure did eventually pay off though as following neat play from Cooke and Mwasile, the latter looked set to pull the trigger but was tripped inside the six-yard box.
However referee Johnston played an excellent advantage allowing Malkin to fire the loose ball home from close range much to the delight of the travelling Dabbers’ support behind the goal.
This was the last action for the young striker as he was replaced by Fuller who was given his first taste of football for the Dabbers as Matlock looked to try and find an equaliser.
But the Gladiators were struggling to do so as Westcarr had a goal bound effort blocked by Stair before Jackson fired wide after Durrant’s long kick forward.
They turned out to be the final efforts from the hosts who were unable to register a single effort on target in the game as the Dabbers saw out the five additional minutes and registered their first league victory of 2019.