Paul Casey’s first league game in-charge of Hednesford Town ended in defeat after a goal in each half from the home side saw them earn all three points in Derbyshire.
The Pitmen handed a debut to defender Dan Brenan while Luke Shearer, who had made his debut four years previously before returning late last week, also came into the starting line-up for the injured Danny Glover. Fellow new signing Tony Clarke was on the substitutes bench.
It would be Hednesford that would have the first chance of the game when a ball into the box was cleared as far as George Carline who saw his volleyed effort superbly turned onto the crossbar by Phil Barnes in the Matlock goal.
Two minutes later though and the Pitmen would be behind. After failing to clear their lines the ball fell nicely to Marcus Dinanga on the edge of the box and he swiftly dispatched his effort into the back of the net.
Shearer then saw a cross shot drift narrowly over the crossbar after good link-up play between him and Cohen Bramall.
It was the home side that looked more likely to find the back of the net next though with Calum Flanagan being forced into a fine block before another effort flashed just past Dan Crane’s right-hand post.
Curtis Morrison quickly got away from Brenan after 29 minutes before shooting wide, whilst at the other end Gurjit Singh saw a 30-yard free kick comfortably saved, with Shearer shooting wide two minutes afterwards as the Pitmen pressed for an equaliser.
In the 43rd minute Crane was forced into another smart save, this time from Ted Cribley. However less than sixty seconds later came a big talking point as Shearer went down inside the penalty area, the referee blew his whistle but then booked the Pitmen player for diving.
Hednesford started the second half on the front foot and five minutes in a chance came and went as Carline headed wide from a corner.
The Pitmen were now pressing forward but were dealt a sucker punch in the 62nd minute when the home side advanced forward and despite Brenan getting an initial block on Niall McManus the Matlock man was able to turn and shoot into the corner of the net.
Up against it, Hednesford almost found a way back into the game in the 68th minute when Carline got to the byline and his cross fizzed across the six-yard box where Jamie Matthews was agonisingly close to getting on the end of it.
In truth, the game started to fizzle out the longer the half wore on, however there would be one final chance for the Pitmen with five minutes to go when Carline nodded the ball down to Ashley Sammons but his first-time effort went wide of the post.
The Pitmen now turn their attention towards Monday evening’s game against Burton Albion at Keys Park in the Birmingham Senior Cup.
Matlock Town: Barnes, Marsden, Green, Doyle-Charles, A Yates, Wiley, McManus, Williams (Pursehouse 27), Morrison (Newsham 69), Dinanga, Cribley (J Yates 82)
Sub not used: Grocott, Degirolamo
Hednesford Town: Crane, Wright, Flanagan, Maye, Mutton, Brenan, Singh (Sammons 39), Thorley, Carline, Shearer (Dunkley 70), Bramall (Matthews 60)
Subs not used: Williams, Clarke
Star Man: George Carline
Entertainment Rating: Two Stars