MATLOCK TOWN 0-0 BUXTON
Easter has been reasonably good for Matlock as they battle to release themselves from relegation peril. For Buxton, it has to be a disappointing return with four points dropped against sides in the relegation picture.
Four points out of six was a good return for the Gladiators, but they would be left reflecting that had their first red card of the campaign not happened when Nicky Travis collided with Jamie Green in a high tussle on 41 minutes, they would possibly have gone on to achieve a second valuable win over the weekend.
If either side was to win over the ninety minutes, Matlock generally looked the more likely, even having a man less. Their late surge deserved better having comfortably dealt with Buxton’s predictable game when the visitors persisted in missing out their midfield. In essence they failed to take advantage of their extra man and the outstanding pairing of Julian Banton and Adam Yates at the heart of the Matllock defence mopped everything up with ease.
The Bucks looked neat going forward in the opening exchanges, but it was the Gladiators who created the better opportunities.
The first came on 4 minutes when Otis Khan cut in from the left to fire straight at goalkeeper Aaron Jameson. Then Jameson held a well struck Ted Cribley strike from twenty five yards before Niall McManus tried his luck from even further out but was totally off target.
Buxton constantly hit a brick wall in the form of Yates and Banton and when the action switched swiftly to the other end only an outstanding diving save from Jameson kept out McManus’ diving header on 29 minutes for the one clear cut chance of the contest.
Six minutes later Jamie McDonagh drove too high before Matlock’s attacking intent was disrupted when Travis, on his full Matlock debut, replacing the injured Liam Needham, saw red.
It was a borderline red / yellow card, but nevertheless the Gladiators’ first dismissal of the campaign.
Former Gladiatior Shaun Tuton’s cross from the right flashed across the Matlock box, out of Liam Hardy’s reach as the Bucks looked to take advantage of their extra man prior to the interval.
Any hope the visitors , still within faint hopes of a play off slot, had of pressing home their advantage were dispelled by a gutsy and determined showing from the hosts after the break.
Home goalkeeper Jon Kennedy was seldom troubled after holding a Greg Young header early in that second period with Buxton having to rely on long range strikes, mainly wayward, in their attempts to engineer a breakthrough.
Stockport official Joe Hull did not endear himself to the home support by choosing to ignore a number of heavy visiting tackles with Alistair Taylor eventually earning himself a yellow card when he could quite conceivably have seen red for an early bath for a clash with Ted Cribley.
The crime count was added to by Cribley and McDonagh for Matlock and Buxton’s Liam Hardy and substitute Rhys Meyneill going in the book.
Late on it was Buxton hanging on for the point with McManus causing headaches for the visitors down the left flank, One cross was scrambled clear and when he attacked again, Scott Ludlam was fortunate not to concede a penalty with a late, rash challenge.
Matlock won the moral battle, but not the maximum points. Buxton fans will be dismayed by their team’s lack of imagination against Matlock’s ten men who outfought them but could not get the narrow win they perhaps deserved.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Oscar Radford 4 Ted Cribley 5 Adam yates 6 Julian Banton 7 Otis Khan 8 Nicky Travis 9 Jamie McDonagh 10 Danny Holland 11 Niall McManus Subs-not used: 12 Scott Maxfield 14 Grant Black 15 Muhammed Sabo 16 Liam Gaughan 17 Ryan Pugh
BUXTON: 1 Aaron Jameson 2 Stuart Ludlam 3 Jamie Green 4 Todd Jordan ( 12 Rhys Meynell 33) 5 Ash Palmer 6 Greg Young 7 Alistair Taylor 8 Neil Stevens 9 Shaun Tuton ( 17 Alex Stacey 79) 10 Liam Hardy 11 Ashley Burbeary Other subs:14 Shamai Doyle 15 Jon Ollerenshaw 16 Tim Ryan
REFEREE: Joe Hull (Stockport) ATTENDANCE: 493 BEST GLADIATOR: Julian Banton BEST BUCK: Greg Young