Missed chances and a late defensive lapse saw Matlock denied what should have been a comfortable three points, their first Saturday win of the season and their first clean sheet at the Reynolds Stadium last Saturday.
Leading from Lewis McMahon’s penalty on the hour, Matlock should have been home and dry, in spite of a scare when Stocksbridge claimed that James Lukic’s 74th minute knock back had crossed the line before Jon Kennedy scrambled the ball clear. But having sacked their manager Chris Wilcock on Friday, their visitors new assistant boss Brett Bowden-Lovell headed in a corner at the far post with literally seconds remaining. It was another goal Matlock conceded from a set piece.
Will Dennis was set to make his first start in place of Micky Harcourt, injured at Grantham on the previous Tuesday. But Dennis was injured in the pre match warm up so a change at 2.50 pm saw Luke Foster come in at centre back with Adam Yates, due to start alongside James Lukic, moving to right back. Matt Hamshaw, unavailable at Grantham, was back in midfield. Glyn Cotton made his home debut with Gareth Davies being called to the substitutes bench at the last minute.
McMahon saw an early effort deflected behind before on 8 minutes he released the willing Shaun Tuton but Lincoln Adams intervened at the expense of a corner. Hamshaw prodded wide after being found by Kane Richards before another corner came Matlock’s way, forced by Tuton who did his best to control an awkward bounce on the ball.
Matlock were dominating but lacked the killer touch. Little had been seen of the ineffective bottom of the table Yorkshiremen who looked like a side in its rightful position in the table. Winger Scott Hogan looked to be their main threat, having their one goalbound attempt of the opening half on 24 minutes. He cut in past Yates but his twenty yard shot on the run was always drifting wide.
Matlock kept on banging on the Stocksbridge defensive door. Both Cotton and Yates had shots charged down, and when they did find a way through on the stroke of half time, they wasted their opportunity. Tuton’s pace from Cotton’s excellent through pass, took him clear of the labouring Bowden-Lovell and Adams, but with only goalkeeper Adam Billard to beat, he threaded his shot wide.
The hosts increased the pressure after the interval. A Hamshaw free kick flew too high and when Tuton did find the net on 52 minutes from McMahon’s pass, his effort was disallowed for handball.
Richards often had the beating of Ben Turner with his pace but needed to be more clinical with his finishing. A gentle shot at Billard brought a timid end to another burst down the right and when Billard gave him the ball back almost immediately he delayed too long and McMahon could do little to exploit the error. Another Richards effort was straight at Billard but he played his part in Matlock taking the lead when his cross clearly struck Turner on the arm and McMAHON was clinical from the spot shooting low into the corner past Billard’s right hand.
Three minutes later Kevin Sanasy had appeals for a spot kick justifiably denied when Phil Roe blocked his shot and within another two minutes only the woodwork saved Steels from going further behind. Luke Foster’s shot came crashing off the angle of post and bar with Billard well beaten.
Billard did well to beat away a McMahon shot as Matlock sought the second goal their dominance deserved.
But they had a scare with the Kennedy clearance, showing that their one goal lead was too slender for comfort.
Trickery from Richards led to McMahon firing wide before the winger fired over the bar following another burst from deep.
Then from Steels’ second corner in quick succession, the giant BOWDEN- LOVELL headed home leaving Matlock with no time to repair the damage. Two points had been thrown away in a game Matlock controlled but could not put to bed.
MATLOCK TOWN: Jon Kennedy, Luke Foster, Phil Roe, Martin Foster, Adam Yates, James Lukic, Kane Richards (Danny Deakin 90), Glyn Cotton, Shaun Tuton (Lee Ellington 57), Lewis McMahon, Matthew Hamshaw. Other subs: Joe Leesley, Gareth Davies, Nick Buxton
REFEREE: M Perry (Sutton Coldfield) ATTENDANCE: 257 STAR MAN: Glyn Cotton