BARWELL 2-1 MATLOCK TOWN
Matlock would again be kicking themselves as a late goal once more proved costly.
Three times now in the last four games the Gladiators have conceded in the dying embers of games and a total of four extra points have been thrown away.
It left joint managers Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins, plus the fifty odd Matlock fans who travelled to Leicestershire utterly frustrated.
To make things worse, the first goal also could and should have been avoided, a gift for Matt Stenson on 37 minutes.
A Shaun Harrad penalty levelled matters seventeen minutes into the second half but more lazy defending allowed substitute Owen Story to force in a late 88th minute winner for a cynical and direct Barwell outfit.
The hosts played to their strengths but surely there is no place for the all out haranguing of match officials and certainly not for the outrageous assault on Harrad on the stroke of half time by a Barwell defender after Harrad had accidentally fallen on top of him. Harrad says he was punched in the throat, leaving him flat on the turf, choking, and gasping for air.
The officials missed the incident but it left a nasty taste.
The visitors gave a debut to striker Tyrell Waite, signed on loan from Boston United, and the initial signs from Waite and Matlock as a more potent attacking unit looked promising.
Waite was soon charging beyond the Barwell defence, rounding keeper Liam Castle only for his low cross to be cut out by home skipper Craig Stanley who often acted as chief spokesman with referee Richard Cattell.
How Stanley escaped without a caution at the very least is a mystery, but Barwell still only had three men booked in Nigel Julien, Stenson and Tom Bates, while Jake Green was the sole Matlock recipient of a yellow card, deservedly so for tripping Ryan Baldwin.
Waite would then go close on 8 minutes, latching on to a cracking through pass from Adam Yates, but his low cross drive from the left narrowly whistled past the back post.
A speculative dipping effort from Bates was a touch too high before Luis Rose cut in from the left, but leaning back, he fired too high. When Castle fumbled a Rhys Sharpe strike, he escaped with nobody picking up the pieces, this being quickly followed by Rose and Waite combining only for Rose to shoot tamely at Castle.
Barnes saved well from Bates before Stenson nodded wide after a corner had been played back into the danger zone. Then Matlock handed the hosts a gift wrapped lead, Sharpe’s faulty pass causing Dwayne Wiley to miskick and STENSON with a clear run at goal calmly slipped a low finish past Barnes.
The chances had begun to dry up for Matlock after the interval, despite them having their fair share of possession but when Waite showed pace was bundled over in the box by Liam Kay, HARRAD’s explosive spot kick squared the contest.
Injuries to Nico Degirolamo and Sharpe saw Jayden Cotterill and Niall Flint introduced and Barwell increased the tempo.
Matlock looked to be defending with authority and appeared to have weathered the storm but they fell asleep late on as Stenson was given too much space on the right to cross to the far post where STORY had been left free to touch the ball home.
It was deja-vous as far as Matlock were concerned and yet again they had been severely punished for their errors.
BARWELL: 1 Liam Castle 2 Elliot Percival 3 Eddie Nisevic 4 Craig Stanley 5 Liam Kay 6 Nigel Julien 7 Ryan Baldwin (17 Jake Whitmore 46) 8 Jake Heath 9 Matt Stenson 10 Ryan Seal (15 Luke Barlone 81) 11 Tom Bates (12 Owen Story 68) Other subs: 14 Ryan Robbins 16 Cameron Gilchrist
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Nico Degirolamo (16 Jayden Cotterill 68) 3 Jake Green 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Luis Rose 8 Rhys Sharpe (14 Niall Flint 77) 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Tyrell Waite 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 12 Tyler Blake 15 Harry Wood
REFEREE: Richard Cattell (Burntwood, Staffs) ATTENDANCE: 148 BEST GLADIATOR: Joe Doyle-Charles