Matlock Town 2-3 Witton Albion
A last gasp controversial goal from Steven Tames won the points for Witton in a game which will be remembered more for the performance of the match officials than anything else.
Beeston referee Ed Pidduck will definitely not be on any Matlock supporters Christmas card list with a sequence of poor decisions which went against the Gladiators who had fought back from two goals down to equalise midway through the second half.
Again though Matlock conceded three goals, for the fourth home game in succession and a listless first half display put them on the back foot. They only managed two efforts at goal in the opening half, Lee Bennett lifting a 6th minute shot over the bar and Shaun Harrad stretched to divert a difficult chance wide on 27 minutes.
In between Witton had taken control, Phil Barnes flinging himself low to his left to keep out a 9th minute free kick from Owen Dale before Dale saw his header deflected wide four minutes later, It would be third time lucky for DALE though in the very next minute, collecting the ball wide on the left and curling a delightful shot past Barnes from the edge of the penalty box.
Soon afterwards Barnes had to dash out to head clear as Rob Hopley looked to benefit from a through ball with most in the healthy 421 crowd being frustrated as their side struggled to make any impact. Witton looked comfortable and deserved their interval lead,
Three minutes after the restart Tames drove at Barnes before terrible defending gifted the visitors a second goal in the 57th minute. Brad-Lee Gascoigne had his head in his hands after his attempted nod back to Barnes lacked any real pace and WILL JONES gleefully tucked his shot past the goalkeeper.
Matlock made an immediate double change with Ricky German, back on loan from Chesterfield and Curtis Morrison replacing Jake Green and Jamie Jackson who had struggled to make any impact.
Six minutes later the hosts halved their deficit when BENNETT rose at the far post to head in a corner from the left. Within another four minutes they were back on level terms as the Albion defence stood off HARRAD which proved to be unwise as he brought the ball down and fired a superb 18 yard strike past goalkeeper Ryan Nield.
Witton replied and Joe Doyle-Charles made a magnificent challenge on Jones to probably keep the score at 2-2.
Jones though would see red with twenty minutes left after an altercation with Barnes spotted by the assistant that also saw the Matlock goalkeeper booked. The assistant would play a big part in the outcome of the game.
Strangely Witton increased the tempo again after the sending off but they should really have gone down to nine men as defender Michael Wilsonas last man only received a yellow card for pulling back Shaun Harrad who had a clear route to goal. The free kick from Michael Williams was charged down with Williams second strike sailing onto the adjoining cricket pitch.
Doyle-Charles was booked for a trip on James Foley before Tames blasted across the face of goal.
Then Mr Pidduck angered the home crowd for brandishing a second yellow card at Doyle-Charles after a tackle with Foley in which the ball was won and the Witton player having hurt himself by kicking the Town midfielder’s boot.
But there was more consternation still to come for the hosts. A long pass out of defence was chased down by Tames with Dwayne Wiley closing him down. Tames went down, the assistant flagged and Mr Pidduck pointed to the spot to award what at best was a soft penalty.
Matlock protested but to no avail and Barnes blocked TAMES spot kick only for the loose ball to fall sweetly for the winger to fire in at the second attempt.
Glenn Kirkwood was sent from the technical area with the crime count ending at a sending off for each side, Jake Green, Shaun Harrad and Wiley being added to the ones detailed earlier.
It was an error filled performance from the officials but Matlock will also reflect that their poor start to the game had not helped their cause.
Matlock Town: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Brad-Lee Gascoigne 3 Kieran Wallace 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Jake Green (14 Curtis Morrison 58) 8 Michael Williams 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Lee Bennett 11 Jamie Jackson (15 Ricky German 58) Other subs: 12 Ted Cribley 16 Jan Yeomans 17 Harry Limb
Witton Albion: 1 Ryan Nield 2 Danny McKenna(15 Anthony Gardner 75) 3 Matty Devine 4 River Humphreys 5 Michael Wilson 6 James Foley 7 Owen Dale (14 Prince Haywood 72) 8 Tom Owens 9 Rob Hopley 10 Will Jones 11 Steven Tames Other subs: 12 Anthony Brown 16 Paul Williams 17 Nick Ryan
Referee: Ed Pidduck (Beeston) Attendance: 421 BEST GLADIATOR: Joe Doyle-Charle