Darlington FC vs Matlock Town FC

February 9, 2016
Score: 3 - 0

Match Report


Sometimes in sport a beaten club has to hold up its hands
and admit the better side won, and that was the case at
Heritage Park on Tuesday evening.

The Quakers took another important step towards promotion,
and probably the title if fixture congestion does not hurt
them, with a committed and on the whole a fine team
performance to see off Mark Hume’s men.

The final margin of defeat was probably a touch harsh on the
Gladiators. They did not play badly by any means, but it was
a case of Darlington being better on the night and having a
touch of extra quality. The visitors have played worse and

The pitch survived three inspections before being passed
fit, it was far from ideal, but it was Darlington, with
their greater knowledge of the tricky surface, which had
been left drenched continuously due to the wet weather, who
adapted the better.

Travelling fans had said beforehand that they would probably
need a top class showing from their side to gain anything
from the contest, and so it proved. To their credit they
pressed and had Darlington on the defensive for significant
periods but the hosts also closed Matlock down quickly,
limiting the amount of clear cut chances, working
relentlessly all over the park.

From Matlock’s viewpoint the quality of the goals conceded
could all be judged differently.

The opener on 16 minutes was from a set piece and Matlock
ought to have been aware that Buxton had conceded three
goals from such moves in their defeat on the same ground
just seven days earlier. The second and points clincher in
the 62nd minute was a screamer and well worth the admission
money alone, while The Quakers added their third with
virtually the last kick of the game, to rub salt into the
visitors’ wounds.

Matlock started with in the main the line up which finished
the victory over Grantham seven days earlier, apart from Ben
Algar for Jake Orrell, Hume resisting the temptation to
recall Ted Cribley to the starting line up after suspension.
Craig Nelthorpe was facing one of his former clubs.

Darlington were soon on the attack with winger Stephen
Thompson being felled twenty yards from goal in the third
minute, the danger passing when Adam Mitchell’s free kick
sailed over the bar. Terry Galbraith headed another free
kick wide soon afterwards before firing a thirty yarder
which was comfortably gathered by George Willis.

Galbraith, despite wearing the number three shirt, often
attacked down the left and was also dangerous in the box and
so it proved when Darlington went in front. He forced a
corner from which he saw a header blocked but the ball broke
to another defender, GARY BROWN who gleefully knocked in the

Within ninety seconds there was a sniff of an opening for
Matlock when goalkeeper Peter Jameson’s punch fell to Ben
Algar whose volley from the edge of the box lacked venom and
was held to his right by Jameson. Then on the half hour
Algar shot early and again Jameson was able to save with
relative ease.

Brown came close to doubling his and Darlington’s tally ten
minutes from the interval when he rose to head a Galbraith
free kick narrowly too high before Willis did well to fling
himself to the right to keep out a Mitchell strike, the
Quakers ending the half well as Thompson drove a couple of
feet too high.

Laurie Wilson and Galbraith went into the referee’s
notebook during the early stages of the second period,
Nelthorpe later joining them.

Nathan Cartman nodded a Mitchell cross wide before a game
defining moment came on 58 minutes. When decent chances come
against a very good side they need to be taken and Niall
McManus, who ran his heart out all night, turned Brown and
was in one on one with Jameson. The goalkeeper stood his
ground and saved McManus’ low shot with his legs, and
Matlock’s best chance of the night came and went in a

Four minutes later came the punishment as LEE GASKELL,
turned 180 degrees to outwit the Town defence before
measuring a magnificent twenty yarder which flew beyond
Willis into the far corner.

Matlock hung on grimly for a few minutes as a Galbraith free
kick bounced against an upright, Willis denied substitute
Tom Portas in a one on one duel and another substitute,
experienced Graeme Armstrong shot wildly over the bar from
eighteen yards.

But Matlock did not give up and Charlie Dawes, having been
found by fellow substitute Cribley, pulled a left footed
shot beyond the far post before the Quakers final goal,
created by Thompson with a teasing low cross along the six
yard box , was finished by GALBRAITH.

Now Matlock must put their first defeat of 2016 behind them,
their application and commitment could not be faulted,
lesser sides would have been hammered.

DARLINGTON 1883: 1 Peter Jameson 2 Chris Hunter 3 Terry
Galbraith 4 Phil Turnbull 5 Kevin Burgess 6 Gary Brown 7
Adam Mitchell(12 Tom Portas 68) 8 Leon Scott 9 Lee Gaskell
(15 Graeme Armstrong 77) 10 Nathan Cartman (16 David Dowson
71) 11 Stephen Thompson Other subs: 14 Jim Provett 17
Adam Nowakowski

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Craig
Nelthorpe 4 Laurie Wilson (14 Ted Cribley 56) 5 Adam Yates 6
Tom Burgin 7 Nicky Travis 8 Liam Needham 9 Joel Purkiss (16
Charlie Dawes 69) 10 Niall McManus 11 Ben Algar (15 Andy
Gascoigne 78) Other subs: 12 Danny Holland 17 Liam Gaughan

REFEREE: Tony Peart
(Northallerton) ATTENDANCE: 916 BEST
GLADIATOR: Niall McManus