COALVILLE TOWN 2-1 MATLOCK TOWN
It was a case of the better side coming away with nothing when Matlock suffered a fourth successive league and cup defeat at Owen Street on Tuesday night.
But once again the Gladiators gave their opponents a two goal start, even then there was an element of misfortune when Adam Yates could only deflect a Blair Anderson cross into his own net as Coalville doubled their lead on 33 minutes, Anderson having put the Ravens ahead in the 10th minute.
Easily the best striker on the pitch, Shaun Harrad, halved the deficit from the penalty spot four minutes into the second half, but despite laying siege to the Ravens goal for the rest of the contest, the extra goal or even goals would just not come.
Being two goals behind at the interval was extremely hard on Matlock who gave a debut to seventeen years old Callum Hawkins in goal.
The lively Luis Rose had seen a twenty yarder held by home custodian Matt Coton and Coalville immediately broke down the left with the dangerous ANDERSON teasing Jeyden Cotterill before slamming a low cross drive into the opposite corner.
Just three minutes later Matlock were desperately unlucky not to equalise as Harrad turned sharply to hold off a defender, his low shot looking destined for the net untli Coton flew to his right to push the ball away for an unproductive corner. A similar move from Harrad on 15 minutes saw him fire narrowly too high.
Zayn Hakeem prodded a left wing centre from Rhys Sharpe wide when unmarked on 29 minutes shortly after Hawkins had held an effort from one of three ex Gladiators, Massiah MacDonald, the other two Matlock old boys being Dean Freeman and Cleveland Taylor.
Matlock’s luck was really down when YATES slipped as he looked to clear an Anderson cross, the ball spinning off the Town skipper for an own goal.
Neat skill from Rose ended with a shot at Coton and Hakeem nodded a Sharpe cross inches over, this would be the prelude to a second half of Matlock dominance.
Freeman was fortunate to escape being pulled up for a foul on HARRAD but a second penalty appeal from the former Burton Albion man was more successful, again Freeman the culprit for pushing, the resulting spot kick being confidently converted by the Gladiators number nine.
Harrad then saw a shot deflected over the bar before a Rose cross fell slightly behind Harrad who still managed to stab goalwards but a foot wide.
Marc Newsham replaced Hakeem and within five minutes he was brilliantly denied by Coton, the shot from a Joe Doyle-Charles through pass being pushed to safety.
Then an even better save from a Sharpe piledriver frustrated Matlock again before Harrad again threatened, planting a near post diving header inches past an upright.
Harrad deserved a whole lot more and after Freeman was booked for hauling him down, a cleverly flicked header from Sharpe’s free kick was equally close.
Newsham had caused Coalville countless problems but again luck was against his side when he was forced off with an ankle injury and substitute Tyler Blake was replacing substitute Newsham.
Yet again Harrad turned brilliantly for Coton to again deny him and with Coalville hanging on grimly, Dwayne Wiley was pushed into the attack and his header dropped agonisingly wide in more than five minutes of stoppage time.
This was much better from Matlock, sustained effort and commitment mixed with flair, good fortune being the missing ingredient.
Coalville had the one shot of note in the second period, Hawkins doing well to block a strike from substitute Dan Creaney.
COALVILLE TOWN: 1 Matt Coton 2 Joe Pegg (16 Kyle Bryant 73) 3 Cleveland Taylor 4 Danny Jenno 5 Dean Freeman 6 Steve Towers 7 Will Mellors-Blair (15 Alex Dean 74) 8 Jermaine Hollis 9 Massiah MacDonald (12 Dan Creaney 62) 10 Nathan Watson 11 Blair Anderson Other subs: 14 Ollie Bassett 17 Jamie Hannis
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Callum Hawkins 2 Jayden Cotterill 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Luis Rose (16 Darnelle Bailey-King 69) 8 Callum Lloyd 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Zeyn Hakeem (12 Marc Newshm 56, (15 Tyler Blake 80) 11 Rhys Sharpe Other subs: 14 Nico Degirolamo 17 Jake Green
REFEREE: Simon Brown (Birmingham)
ATTENDANCE: 137 BEST GLADIATOR: Shaun Harrad