Matlock Town 2-0 Whitby Town
A goal in each half secured Matlock’s first win in nine league matches, but the big talking point was a triple sending off incident seven minutes before the break.
Steven Snaith’s terrible reckless challenge on skipper for the day Adam Yates caused a melee involving lots of players from both sides and when the dust had died down, Manchester referee Martin Rawcliffe sent off Snaith, together with Matlock’s Cecil Nyoni and the Seasiders midfielder David McTiernan.
To send three players off looked like a huge over reaction from the official. There was pushing and shoving at best in the aftermath of Snaith’s challenge. All Rawcliffe needed to do was to send off Snaith and get the two skippers together to restore order amongst their flock.
By then, Matlock were well on the way to three points. Nyoni had put them in front after 12 minutes and it was a game largely dominated by the Gladiators. Massiah McDonald added the second midway through the second period and the hosts could have won more convincingly.
Matlock were without skipper Liam Needham through injury so Corey Gregory came in and there was the surprise return of full back Micky Harcourt with Joe Leesley also recalled after missing the draw at Buxton through illness. Injury ruled out Jack Broadhead, possibly necessitating Harcourt’s early comeback.
The opening goal was beautifully constructed by man of the match Shaun Tuton whose unselfish running and scrapping unsettled the Whitby defence constantly.
Tuton shrugged off Ibrahim Hassan on the left before finding NYONI who crisply drove low past goalkeeper Shane Bland from twelve yards.
Clear cut opportunities were sparse in the opening half. Tuton drove high and wide from a quickly taken Harcourt free kick on 24 minutes before Harcourt was provider again, a teasing low ball into the box just being narrowly out of James Ashmore’s radar. Ashmore only needed a touch to find the onion bag.
After the sendings off, there came Matlock’s one moment of alarm as Jon Kennedy saved well from Craig Farrell, but for the rest of the contest he was virtually redundant.
The second half was all Matlock with McDonald slicing high and wide before Ashmore’s finish had a similar outcome. A fine challenge from defender Lee Bullock stopped McDonald from finishing off more great work by Tuton. Then on 63 minutes an Ashmore corner was helped into the net by Whitby skipper Mark Robinson but the celebrations were cut short as the referee blew for a foul.
But Whitby had no such good fortune two minutes afterwards when McDONALD cracked home a superb twenty yard finish low beyond Bland after Martin Foster had slipped a short pass through the heart of the Seasiders’ rearguard.
Harcourt and Tuton combined to feed Gregory who fired a great opportunity over the bar and as Matlock remained firmly in control Bland saved superbly from Tuton and McDonald missed a sitter, lifting a close range chance too high with the goal at his mercy.
It had been a methodical and dominant display by Matlock with the three points thoroughly deserved. It’s a pity that the main talking point though was the melee and the three red cards.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 Martin Foster 5 Oscar Radford 6 Adam Yates 7 Corey Gregory (12 Lavell White 79) 8 James Ashmore 9 Massiah McDonald (15 Alex Bradshaw 90) 10 Shaun Tuton 11 Cecil Nyoni Other subs: 14 Daryll Thomas 16 Matty Wilkinson 17 Matty Leese
WHITBY TOWN: 1 Shane Bland 2 Ibrahim Hassan 3 Mark Robinson 4 Kevin Burgess 5 Lee Bullock 6 David McTiernan 7 Tom Portas 8 Lee Mason (12 Nathan Mulligan 67) 9 Craig Farrell (14 Adam Rundle 72) 10 Steven Snaith 11 Shane Henry (15 Zak Boagey 67) Other subs: 16 Graeme Armstrong 17 David Campbell
REFEREE: M Rawcliffe (Manchester) ATTENDANCE: 281 BEST GLADIATOR: Shaun Tuton