WORKINGTON 0-1 MATLOCK TOWN
A much better balanced performance from Matlock led to their first away victory of the season as they looked more like the team which challenged for a play off spot last term.
It was difficult to pick out a star player but most certainly the surprise return of Michael Williams into the midfield helped considerably in on chances alone,for a deserved Matlock win.
The hosts, unbeaten at home, had sixty per cent of the play, showed some nice touches but lacked penetration while on the other hand, Matlock again created a glut of opportunities but had only a 58th minute penalty from top scorer Shaun Harrad to show for their efforts.
This time though, it was enough as Matlock cut out the schoolboy errors which have led to their demise so far. Phil Barnes had a relatively comfortable afternoon between the sticks and was only seriously tested once, such was the efficiency shown by those in front of him.
Williams came in for the injured Rhys Sharpe with all other Matlock injury doubts from the midweek loss at Barwell being fit for the Gladiators’ longest trip of the season.
There was early cause for concern though as David Symington, converted to an attacking left back from a winger, was allowed too much space out on the left as the Reds used the width of the Borough Park pitch. An early Symington strike fell wide before Sam Joel set up Jordan Holt whose effort met the same fate.
Encouragingly at this point Matlock were doing the ugly things well as Workington’s initial neat passing game deteriorated.
From an attacking point of view, the outlook looked brighter for Matlock with two quick opportunities midway through the half. Neat link up play from Tyrell Waite and Harrad ended with Luis Rose seeing his shot held by home custodian and captain Aaron Taylor. Then Waite set up Harrad whose volley struck Josh Calvert to comfortably fall into Taylor’s grasp.
Then Matlock thought they had taken the lead on 41 minutes as Harrad threaded a ball through for Waite to lash a shot into the roof of the net but a very tight offside decision, the assistant claiming Waite’s upper body being offside saw the “goal” chalked out.
But it proved that Matlock looked well capable of breaking through and another chance went begging on the stroke of half time. An error from Symington let in Harrad in a one on one with Taylor. Harrad opted to chip the Reds number one but Taylor stepped back to claim the ball above his head.
Williams had been a revelation, a willingness to run and some smart passing let the visiting fans know what they had been missing as his relationship with Joe Doyle-Charles was back in harness.
Barnes held an early second half shot from Joel before HARRAD netted for the fourth successive game and a third penalty in three games. Wordsworth stuck out a lazy leg to bring down the twisting Cribley for an obvious penalty which was powerfully blasted down the centre of goal.
Matlock had something to fight for and for an initial ten minutes they survived a rocky spell as they fell deeper into defence. Barnes pulled off a fantastic diving save to claw away a shot from Joel on 63 minutes, but this was the only serious moment of danger for the men in anthracite.
Workington lacked the composure and the knowhow to unlock a stubborn Matlock rearguard and there was a greater chance of Town doubling their advantage.
Harrad could not control an incisive through pass by Williams as an exposed Taylor nicked the ball off him. Waite cut in from the left, the hosts being relieved to concede just a corner and Rose had a shot well held by Taylor,
Holt received the game’s sole caution for fouling Williams in a game generally well handled by referee Ian Gittins but an 89th minute fracas threatened to upset matters after Doyle-Charles was on the end of a high challenge. After the ponytailed midfielder had received treatment there was another fall out following words from the Workington bench to Doyle-Charles.
In spite of an over generous seven and a half minutes of added time, Matlock this time stood firm to make the four hundred miles round journey worthwhile. Williams lasted the full game, despite going down with cramp late on, that was understandable having put the mileage in on his first league appearance of the campaign.
WORKINGTON: 1 Aaron Taylor 2 Jacob Simpson 3 Dave Symington 4 Dan Wordsworth 5 Josh Calvert 6 Anthony Wright 7 James Earl (12 Sam Smith 69) 8 Jordan Holt 9 Scott Allison 10 Sam Joel 11 Conor Tinnion Other subs: 14 Gari Rowntree 15 Matty Douglas 16 Jamie Mellen 17 Cameron Carter
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Nico Degirolamo 3 Jake Green 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Luis Rose (14 Jayden Cotterill 83) 8 Michael Williams 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Tyrell Waite 11 Ted Cribley Other subs: 12 Niall Flint 15 Tyler Blake 16 Harry Wood
REFEREE: Ian Gittins (Morecambe) ATTENDANCE: 429 BEST GLADIATOR: Michael Williams