Matlock Town 1-2 Farsley Celtic
Two snowstorms appeared to knock Matlock off course as they let their single goal lead slip and succumbed to a frustrating defeat.
The Gladiators were in command at the interval thanks to Shaun Harrad’s 33rd minute strike, but that lead should have been much greater as Harrad’s co striker Ricky German failed with two gilt edged opportunities which would almost certainly have put the game beyond the visitors’ reach.
Groundstaff swept the pitch after the first snowstorm during the interval and then a second precipitation forced the players off ten minutes into the second period with groundstaff again out with their brushes.
From then on it all went wrong for the Gladiators as Celts skipper Danny Ellis knocked in two close range efforts for the fifth placed visitors and steal all three points.
Matlock retained the starting eleven which had won at Nantwich eleven days earlier but there were changes on the bench including new signing Jake Phillips, a defender from Nantwich Town,
On a bitterly cold afternoon and in front of their lowest league crowd of the season, Matlock soon warmed to their task on a tricky surface which had survived a morning inspection,
However it was the Yorkshiremen who had the first shot at goal, Richard Walton comfortably gathering a low drive from Paul Walker.
Matlock replied almost immediately with the Farsley defence blocking a Joe Doyle-Charles shot and German firing low against the post from five yards out after an enterprising break by Jake Green.
Undeterred Matlock swarmed forward again for Curtis Morrison to shoot at goalkeeper Graeme McKibbin following some fine work from Michael Williams and shortly afterwards another excellent move started by Morrison and continued by Ted Cribley was knocked narrowly wide at the far post by Harrad, the visiting defenders doing just enough to put off Matlock’s leading marksman.
But the pressure bore fruit when from a Williams corner on the left, HARRAD flicked in a fine finish to give the Gladiators a deserved lead. Three minutes later the hosts should have been celebrating again. Having done all of the hard work in a strong run and sidestepping McKibbin, an off balance German lifted his shot over the bar when composure would have given his side a two goal advantage. The miss would prove to be costly later.
After a slightly extended half time break Matlock went close again when Morrison pulled his shot wide from a knock down by German but the weather deteriorated again and with snow belting down, the referee took the players off and after a delay of six minutes the game resumed.
Matlock though had lost much of their earlier verve and sparkle and Farsley took advantage, nearly levelling when Green cleared off the line from Adam Clayton, but doing so on 62 minutes when the unmarked ELLIS forced in Lewis Turner’s cross from the left.
Ben Atkinson might have added a second for Farsley failing to trouble Walton when well placed before at the other end Morrison might have done better than pull his shot inches wide from an even better opportunity.
But on 79 minutes Farsley reversed the result up at the Throstle Nest in January when Clayton won the ball in the Gladiators half and crossed low from the right for ELLIS to again convert.
It was tough on Matlock but they had let Farsley get out of jail by not converting the chances that came their way when they were on top.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Richard Walton 2 Jake Green (14 Harry Limb 81) 3 Kieran Wallace 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Ted Cribley (12 Jamie Jackson 69) 8 Michael Williams 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Ricky German 11 Curtis Morrison (16 Zak Brunt 81) Other subs: 15 Jake Phillips 17 Jan Yeomans
FARSLEY CELTIC: 1 Graeme McKibbin 2 William Wells 3 Lewis Turner 4 Kurt Harris (15 Cameron Murray 70) 5 Danny Ellis 6 Adam Clayton 7 Ryan Watson 8 Nathan Turner 9 Paul Walker (12 Luke Parkin 75) 10 Nathan Cartman 11 Ben Atkinson(14 Chris Atkinson 82) Other sub: 16 Mark Bett
REFEREE: Andrew Dallison (Mansfield) ATTENDANCE: 189 BEST GLADIATOR: Michael Williams