Matlock Town 0-0 Marine
A well organised Marine stifled a misfiring Matlock to aid their chance of avoiding the drop in what was a forgettable encounter on Saturday.
The Mariners, with Liam Goulding exceptional alongside player manager Sean Hessey, hardly put a foot wrong defensively all afternoon and on the odd occasion that they did, Matlock could not take advantage.
The one positive for Matlock from a frustrating ninety minutes was a second successive clean sheet, they just needed to take one of three presentable first half opportunities to have secured maximum points.
Retaining the side which had beaten Mickleover in midweek, Matlock, rarely playing towards the cricket end in the opening half, struggled to create much in scrappy opening exchanges and it was a full fourteen minutes before either side had a sight of goal, that wait ending when Joel Purkiss shot powerfully from the edge of the penalty box and Marine goalkeeper Matthew Cooper punching the ball away to safety.
There was lots of endeavour but little in terms of quality and the match was probably summed up when in a move shortly afterwards, Niall McManus broke in space on the right only for the promise to come to a halt with a woeful crossfield pass to hand possession straight back to Marine.
There was a scramble in the visitors penalty box when the ball just would not sit up conveniently for McManus or Purkiss, the pressure being relieved when Holland was forced wide, but the Mariners had a let off in the 29th minute when Holland, having been set up by first Cribley and McManus rolled a shot against the foot of the post.
Purkiss drove at Cooper after Holland had flicked the ball on but there was a great chance wasted three minutes before the interval. Hessey fell over and Holland seemingly looked like taking adavantage as he set up Purkiss but Matlock’s top scorer in a one on one with Cooper could only slice his shot wide.
In the end that was Matlock’s best and as it turned out, final chance to fashion a breakthrough.
Marine were content to soak up the pressure and were disappointing going forward, particularly with a hit man such as Danny Mitchley in their side, a striker who would walk into most sides at this level or the one above. Mitchley did not have a chance all afternoon with Marine scarcely testing George Willis. They managed only one shot of note in each half, Carl Peers shooting over the bar on the stroke of half time before Willis held another strike from distance midway through the second period.
Matlock’s chances dried up in the second half, Holland headed a fine McManus centre too high in the 50th minute but there would be no great finale as there had been seven days earlier when the sides met at Crosby.
Neither side were good enough on the day to earn all three points, the game lacking thrills and excitement.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Adam Yates 3 Ben Algar (14 Craig Nelthorpe 39 ) 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Tom Burgin 6 Nicky Travis 7 Ted Cribley (12 Charlie Dawes 76) 8 Liam Needham 9 Joel Purkiss 10 Danny Holland 11 Niall McManus Other subs: 15 Jake Orrell 16 Micky Harcourt 17 Liam Gaughan
MARINE: 1 Mathew Cooper 2 Liam Willis 3 Andy Nicholas 4 Sean Hessey 5 Liam Goulding 6 James Foley 7 Alex Davies 8 Carl Peers 9 Danny Mitchley 10 Chris Sharp (15 Lloyd Ellams 70) 11 Sean Myler Other subs: 12 Warren Bellew 14 James Short 16 Stephen Wainwright 17 Jack Hunter
REFEREE: N Pratt (Staffordshire) ATTENDANCE: 323 BEST GLADIATOR: Tom Burgin