FRICKLEY ATHLETIC 1-0 MATLOCK TOWN
The joy of Friday night’s first win of the season against Barwell was soon wiped away as an abject Matlock slipped to a demoralizing defeat at second from bottom Frickley, who in turn gained their first maximum points haul of the campaign.
It was an awful game, devoid of quality, more a battle of attrition. After an instantly forgettable opening half, Frickley came out with more fire in the second period and snatched the points thanks to their top scorer of the last two years, Gavin Allott eight minutes after the resumption.
Sadly it took 84 minutes for the Gladiators to produce an on target shot and a late rally failed to save them as it had done in their previous away game at Belper on Bank Holiday Monday.
Matlock kept the same staring line up from the Barwell success but were immediately on the back foot as a strong, robust Frickley forced a pair of corners in the opening minute.
A third flag kick followed before on 12 minutes and it led to Josh Meade feeling the full force of a ferocious shot from Brad Riley which struck him full on in the face.
Matlock needed to show more composure for Jason Stokes and Danny Holland were being starved of decent service. Meade put in a couple of promising crosses from the right which a determined home rearguard cleared, then on 27 minutes Micky Harcourt’s header from a free kick dropped harmlessly too high.
Town had forced their way into the game but were lazy in being caught offside on far too many occasions, so attacks were being brought to an unnecessary and premature end.
Six minutes after half time Oscar Radford took an arm in the face in a clash inside the Frickley penalty box with Danny South and was forced off. Matlock delayed making the change hoping Radford would recover, but his nose continued to bleed from two places. While the visitors were down to ten players a long punt from goalkeeper Ben Simpson was helped on, ironically to where Radford would probably have been covering, and ALLOTT had sneaked in to fire home.
On came Leon Osborne who just before the hour, frustratingly failed to follow in Holland’s intelligent downward header, allowing Simpson to steal possession of his toes when the ball just needed forcing under the goalkeeper.
Holland then tried to set up Osborne again but was guilty of a faulty pass when probably shooting himself would have been the better option.
But the Gladiators were fortunate to remain just one goal behind on 64 minutes when after Jon Kennedy had spilled a cross, Adam Yates twice made excellent goal line clearances to deny Allott and South, the first a quite magnificent block.
Matlock initially thought they had been given a penalty when after Osborne had been baulked by Jameel Ible, referee Roberts looked to have pointed to the spot. Ible was booked, one of four Frickley players, the others being Ryan Williams, South and John Cyrus, with Joe Leesley also receiving a yellow card for his part in the flare up at Williams’ caution.
But the official was then seen pacing out ten yards for a free kick right on the edge of the box, which was crashed against the wall by Harcourt.
Meade finally had an on target shot from a Holland knockdown which Simpson held and at last Matlock strung some attacks together, with a cross shot from Harcourt being pushed away by Simpson and David Haggerty planting two headers over the bar.
But in the final analysis, Matlock were left to reflect that Frickley had won the physical battle, they had also forced Matlock into playing hoofball, and they had done a job on the Gladiators.
FRICKLEY ATHLETIC: 1 Ben Simpson 2 Kyle Harrison 3 Lee Stratford 4 Aaron Joseph, 5 John Cyrus 6 Jameel Ible 7 Brad Riley 8 McAuley Parkinson 9 Danny South 10 Gavin Allott 11 Ryan Williams ( 14 Joel Barnett 83) Other subs: 12 Luke Jeffs 15 Matt Knowles 16 Sanchez Payne 17 Jon Hood
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 Oscar Radford (12 Leon Osborne 54) 5 David Haggerty 6 Adam Yates 7 Jason Stokes 8 Josh Meade 9 Danny Holland 10 James Ashmore (14 Lavell White 70), 11 Liam Needham Other subs: 15 Sam Robinson 16 Matt Andrews 17 Matty Leese
REFEREE: Bob Roberts (Leyland) ATTENDANCE: 242 BEST GLADIATOR: Adam Yates