MARINE 2-1 MATLOCK TOWN
Matlock literally tossed away three points as they allowed struggling Marine to net two 90th minute goals and dramatically overturn their deficit.
The Gladiators looked comfortable and there was little hint of the late drama to come as Laurie Wilson’s eighth goal of the season, a penalty after Joel Purkiss had been brought down, had put Matlock into a 59th minute lead.
But then it all went horribly wrong as Matlock’s inability to see out a match from a winning position reared its ugly ahead once again, just as it had against another struggling side in Grantham last September.
Adam Yates conceded a penalty after a foul on Danny Mitchley and having denied a goalscoring chance, was sent off before Mitchley stroked home the equaliser. With Matlock at sixes and sevens, Marine attacked again and won the match as Lewis Codling pushed a right wing cross past George Willis, much to the disbelief of all watching in the 286 crowd.
That late drama might just have given Marine, winless in the league since November 7 before Saturday, a lifeline in their bid to stay up.
Matlock made one change from the starting line up beaten at Darlington in midweek with Ted Cribley replacing Tom Burgin, Laurie Wilson dropping back to partner Adam Yates in central defence.
Marine made a promising start with Micky Harcourt conceding a corner as he nodded a Mitchley cross to safety before a fine challenge by Wilson on Mitchley averted more potential danger. Wilson received a bloody nose and his number four shirt was changed as the number 22 was used.
Purkiss and Nicky Travis both shot wide before Ben Algar wasted a glorious chance on 11 minutes. Meeting a Niall McManus cross from the right, he had all of the goal to aim at but casually shot against the bar.
Codling stung the palms of Willis from distance before the contest became scrappy, although Algar might have done better again when found by Cribley but his shot lacked conviction as it sailed harmlessly over the bar.
During that half Matlock suffered a blow as Harcourt limped off with a calf injury.
The contest desperately needed a spark as the second half got under way, Liam Willis heading high and wide after some head tennis in the Matlock box.
The game ignited somewhat when Carl Peers brought down Purkiss and was booked to concede the penalty calmly netted by Wilson and the Mariners were holding on grimly eight minutes later. Goalkeeper Matt Cooper saved in a one on one with McManus and then Liam Willis was superbly positioned to block the follow up from Purkiss.
Matlock looked comfortable as tricky footwork from McManus gave Travis a shooting chance, his strike passing wide of the target. Then substitute Danny Holland headed a Wilson cross too high.
At the other end Matlock seemed to be in little trouble from what Marine were asking of them, Codling firing yards wide from distance and Yates blocking a Mitchley drive before the late disaster for the Gladiators.
Matlock had literally released Marine from jail and in essence, they had nobody to blame but themselves.
MARINE: 1 Matt Cooper 2 Stephen Wainwright 3 Andy Nicholas 4 Liam Goulding 5 Carl Peers 6 Liam Willis 7 Lloyd Ellams (14 Chris Sharp 61) 8 James Foley (16 Sean Myler 68) 9 Danny Mitchley 10 Alex Davies 11 Lewis Codling Other subs: 12 Warren Bellew 15 Sean Hessey 17 Jack Hunter
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 George Willis 2 Micky Harcourt (17 Liam Gaughan 27) 3 Craig Nelthorpe (15 Andy Gascoigne 52) 4 Laurie Wilson 5 Adam Yates 6 Nicky Travis 7 Ted Cribley 8 Liam Needham 9 Joel Purkiss (12 Danny Holland 74) 10 Niall McManus 11 Ben Algar Other subs: 14 Tom Burgin 16 Charlie Dawes
REFEREE: R Holmes (Preston) ATTENDANCE: 286 BEST GLADIATOR: Laurie Wilson