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Trafford 2-1 Matlock Town
12:02pm Sunday 18th August 2013 in Sport
TRAFFORD recorded their first ever win at Step 3 level at their very first attempt, as they beat Matlock Town at Shawe View on Saturday.
It was a cagey affair with both sides looking to give nothing away in their first competitive games of the season, with very few clear chances created the first of which arrived after 11 minutes, when Andy Smart's free-kick was saved by the legs of visiting goalkeeper Jon Kennedy, and Shelton Payne's follow up was tipped over the bar by Kennedy, but the referee failed to see his touch and awarded a goal kick. In all fairness, it was arguably the only mistake that the man in black made throughout the game.
In the 29th minute and somewhat against the run of play the visitors took the lead, as Steve Mason's weak back pass was pounced upon by Darryl Thomas who slotted home into an unguarded net with Tom Read in the Trafford goal left stranded.
However, the visitors joy was short lived as it took just three minutes for the home side to restore parity. Shelton Payne received the ball on the right flank, and slotted a perfectly weighted through ball to the feet of Michael Oates, who fired unerringly past the despairing dive of Kennedy and into the far corner.
Payne himself curled narrowly over as Trafford continued to grow in confidence, and on the stroke of half-time they almost went ahead as Mason went agonisingly close to atoning for his error for the opener, but his header rattled the crossbar and Martyn Andrews' rebound appeared to be handled by a raised arm, but the referee waved away the home side's claims. Immediately afterwards Payne's effort was charged down inside the area, the referee blew his whistle, but alas for Trafford it was only for half time. It would have been extremely harsh to have awarded a penalty on the second occasion.
The second half played out much as the first with both sides being restricted to long range efforts, including a Michael Oates effort that comfortably cleared the crossbar, and Matlock's Corey Gregory, whose effort only just avoided going out for a throw.
Tom Read continued to comfortably deal with Town's set pieces throughout the second half as he dominated his area, Rory Fallon was very impressive after being moved inside into central midfield for this game, the returning Cedric Krou worked hard, after re-joining the club from FC United of Manchester. He was playing in a more attacking role than he had previously done in the pre-season games due to another re-signing Joe Shaw's (Witton Albion) injury absence, and fellow returnee Shelton Payne in his third debut after re-signing from Skrill North side Barrow was a constant threat.
And the latter almost marked this milestone with a goal, but his low effort from the edge of the area was palmed away by visiting custodian Kennedy.
But Trafford's efforts were rewarded in the 78th minute, and it was no more than they deserved. Shelton Payne wriggled his way out of the clutches of three Matlock defenders crossed low and hard along the six yard area, where the gambling Ally Brown arrived at the back post to convert as he has done in the past.
The last 10 minutes saw little in the way of action, with Matlock pressing but making little impression on the solid Trafford back line of Brown, Mason, captain Nia Bayunu and Smart.
Krou saw his goal bound effort from range blocked, and debutant Brad Anderson fired wide late on, but these mattered little as the final whistle blew soon after to ensure the Whites got off to a flying start in their Evo-Stik Premier Division campaign.
They face the daunting challenge of the long journey up to Northumberland to play Blyth Spartans on Tuesday evening (7.45pm k/o), and are on their travels again on Saturday as they visit Stafford Rangers (3pm k/o).