WARRINGTON TOWN 5-3 MATLOCK TOWN
If you score three goals away from home you usually expect to gain at least a point and in most circumstances all three.
Matlock looked a tremendous attacking unit during the first half especially when they established a two goal advantage, but all of that good work was wasted because quite simply, they did not defend properly.
Once Warrington pulled a goal back shortly before half time, the writing looked to be on the wall, and an equaliser just ninety seconds after the resumption, and the ease in which it was scored, highlighted the Gladiators’ defensive deficiencies.
Matlock even restored their lead only for the Yellows to net two quickfire replies to turn the scoreline on its head before a late fifth strike ensured Warrington the points.
So having seemingly got the offensive part of their game pretty much resolved, to concede and look vulnerable every time Warrington attacked was not only frustrating, it was extremely annoying.
Matlock gave a debut to new signing Joe Doyle-Charles, a midfielder from Alfreton, formerly with Burton Albion and Ilkeston and the 20 year old slotted into the midfield sweetly, replacing the banned Laurie Wilson.
In a bright start from Matlock, Mike Williams drove narrowly wide from distance after a neat interchange of passes before Warrington replied having a “goal” disallowed when Michael Grogan’s header was ruled out for pushing.
Then Matlock had a good spell of pressure with Ted Cribley’s shot being charged down and Williams mishitting a cross from Niall McManus before Marc Newsham was in the way of a goalbound twenty five yard piledriver from Dwayne Wiley.
A 14th minute corner saw home goalkeeper Karl Wills superbly tip a Williams header over the bar, but two corners later from Cribley, NEWSHAM was on hand to flick Matlock in front with an excellent striker’s finish.
Then on 18 minutes Matlock struck again, Cribley again the provider with a marvellous cross to the back post for MARCUS DINANGA to leap and score with a fine header.
Matlock were in control with Wills escaping punishment as he fouled Minanga outside of the penalty box and probably a crucial moment came on 36 minutes when Wills produced a cracking save to tip a Williams free kick on to the underside of the bar, the ball bouncing down on the right side of the line from the Warrington viewpoint, before being cleared.
Four minutes later Warrington halved the deficit as Ben Deegan beat Wiley on the right to cross low for skipper CIARAN KILHEENEY to touch home from a couple of yards out. On the stroke of half time it was the hosts’ turn to hit the woodwork as a Scott Metcalf free kick rebounded off Arron Jameson’s left hand post with the goalkeeper beaten.
It was clear there would be more goals and Warrington soon equalised after half time with DEEGAN planting home a header from a Grogan cross which Jameson should have come out and claimed. Deegan, boosted by his performance so far, then attempted an audcious effort from just inside the Gladiators half which dropped narrowly wide.
But on 57 minutes Cribley made it a hat-trick of assists as he intelligently fed NEWSHAM who cleverly found space to fire home from 15 yards and give Matlock the lead once again.
Now it was important for Matlock to show some defensive nous but they failed the test miserably.
The equaliser came six minutes later as Scott Harries was not closed down on the right and Kilheeney in the centre was also allowed too much room to feed DEEGAN whose low drive found the target. Then within a minute Warrington added a fourth when Metcalf’s free kick from the touchline on the left was glanced home by an unmarked JAMES McCARTEN with Jameson again rooted to the spot.
Dinanga fired wide as Matlock looked to save themselves but the momentum had gone to Warrington and they made sure of the points when Deegan laid the ball off to the supporting GROGAN whose low shot from the right bulged the bottom corner of the net.
So an afternoon of positives and negatives for Matlock. The positives are that they at last look a side who can score goals with Newsham and Dinanga looking a useful combination. Doyle-Charles looks to be a positive signing and Cribley looks to be returning to his best form. The negatives though are obvious from the scoreline and until Matlock can defend properly as a unit, the good work going forward will come to nothing, as painfully observed on a damp afternoon in Cheshire.
WARRINGTON TOWN: 1 Karl Wills 2 Michael Grogan 3 Sean Clancy 4 Daniel O’Donnell 5 James McCarten 6 Ryan Winder (16 Jack Rudge 90) 7 Scott Harries (14 Lewis Codling 87)8 Gerard Kinsella 9 Ciaran Kilheeney 10 Ben Deegan (15 James Dean 90) 11 Scott Metcalfe Other subs: 12 Liam Turner 17 Andrew Nicholson
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Arron Jameson 2 Liam Marsden 3 Dwayne Wiley 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Nico de Girolamo 7 Niall McManus (14 Anthony Griffiths-Junior 72) 8 Michael Williams 9 Marc Newsham (12 Arel Amu 86) 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 15 Jake Green 16 Andy Todd 17 Ryan King
REFEREE: D Croft (Birkenhead) ATTENDANCE: 161 BEST GLADIATOR: Ted Cribley