Workington 4-1 Matlock Town
This was a tale of the two number nines, one having a feast, the other a famine.
Scott Allison showed Matlock, and on the night in particular, Joel Purkiss, how to take chances and win games.
Allison hit all four Reds goals and was the difference between the sides as Purkiss could and perhaps should, have finished with at least a hat-trick himself. Purkiss failed with all of his chances, all Matlock could muster in reply was a fine Charlie Dawes strike which was a poor return, especially considering their second half dominance.
So a 4-1 margin was incredibly harsh on the Gladiators, but with poor defending also thrown into the equation, this Borough Park clash probably summed up Matlock’s season.
A four hundred mile round trek on a Tuesday night with little preparation time is not ideal and sensing that, Workington went for the early kill.
But Matlock remained in contention despite a heart stopping moment in the 8th minute when Micky Harcourt tripped Allison a couple of yards outside of the penalty box. Fortunately referee Hodskinson only produced a yellow card when others might have shown red, given it looked to be a decent goalscoring chance. George Willis kept out Connor Tinnion’;s well struck free kick with a fine stop to his right.
Almost immediately there was an escape for the hosts when Dawes looked to have been impeded by Jacob Simpson, the official waving away the penalty appeals which Workington fans admitted had some substance.
Joe McGee and Tinnion fired wide from distance before Danny Holland had the ball in the net following a neat passing move, Purkiss being ruled offside.
Harcourt glanced a Purkiss free kick from the right wide before a rush of goals came in the final twelve minutes of the opening half.
Willis saved superbly from McGee who was giving Ben Algar a torrid time, manager Mark Hume later ending Algar’s agony by replacing him with Niall McManus. From the corner which was taken swiftly by McGee, ALLISON was at the far post to score with a textbook header.
Shortly afterwards a Simpson cross was stabbed wide by Gareth Arnison but a second goal soon arrived when Algar was booked for holding McGee and ALLISON was free to steer home on 39 minutes. Jason Paling and Niall McManus would also be booked in the second half for fouls.
But Matlock responded with the goal of the game within a further two minutes as DAWES curled a low twenty yard drive just inside goalkeeper Alex Mitchell’s left hand post and ninety seconds afterwards, Matlock ought to have been on level terms.
Ted Cribley started a smart succession of passes which saw Holland find Purkiss with an excellent flick to leave Town’s top scorer in a one on one duel with Mitchell. But the home custodian was off his line in a flash to brilliantly block the shot and it turned out to be a pivotal moment.
Instead of reaching the interval all square at 2-2, Matlock went in 3-1 down as Workington swept straight downfield again for Algar to clumsily trip Tinnion and ALLISON did the rest to complete a quickfire hat-trick from the spot.
But if Workington thought that was game over, Matlock at least made them think very seriously again. Hume’s men played some slick on the floor football but had sadly left their scoring boots at home.
Purkiss wastefully blasted high over the bar with again only Mitchell to beat from ten yards after a short Jordan Ball cross before Ball thought he had reduced the deficit in a tight looking decision as he smashed home Holland’s intelligent assist.
Then Purkiss was to come eyeball to eyeball with Mitchell once more and again it was the goalkeeper who came out on top with another fine block, a carbon copy of the first half incident.
Substitute Matty Tymon’s thirty yarder drifted wide in a rare Reds attack with the hosts wary that Matlock were still very much in with a shout of a point.
The fight from the visitors continued with substitute Jack Siddall and then Harcourt blasting fiercely off target before Workington’s highly flattering three goal margin of victory was confirmed with a minute remaining.
A probing run and the resultant low cross from Simpson caused havoc in the Matlock box with neither Willis nor a defender taking control and the ball dropped kindly for ALLISON to toe poke home the loose ball.
Matlock had played some excellent football as Workington acknowledged but generosity at both ends proved to be their painful undoing.
WORKINGTON: 1 Alex Mitchell 2 Jacob Simpson 3 Sam Smith 4 Kyle May (15 Jamie Bethwaite 84) 5 Josh Calvert 6 Rob Wilson 7 Joe McGee 8 Connor Hammell (14 Robbie Hebson 69) 9 Scott Allison 10 Gareth Arnison (12 Matty Tymon 64) 11 Conor Tinnion Other subs: 16 Liam Studholme 17 Jonny Jamieson
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Jason Paling 3 Ben Algar (12 Niall McManus 44) 4 Ted Cribley 5 Adam Yates 6 Micky Harcourt 7 Jordan Ball 8 Liam Needham 9 Joel Purkiss 10 Danny Holland (15 Jack Siddall 57) 11 Charlie Dawes (14 Liam Gaughan 71) Other subs: 16 Ashley Bartle 17 Mark Hume
REFEREE: P Hodskinson (Preston) ATTENDANCE: 394 BEST GLADIATOR: Ted Cribley