Three defeats in a row for Gladiators as Worksop prevail
By Mark Duffy
Matlock suffered defeat on the road once again on Tuesday night as hosts Worksop ran out 2-0 winners.
It was a game the hosts dominated but didn’t truly kill off until second-half stoppage time, several missed opportunities in each half threatening to haunt them had the Gladiators managed to find a cutting edge.
But that didn’t happen as Matlock struggled to get a foothold, with very few openings created to test the resolve of the Tigers defence.
And with a lack of quality in midfield evident as well as support to the strikers, Matlock’s deficiencies were again highlighted.
Ex-Gladiator Liam Hughes was a handful throughout the first-half in particular and he twice went close early on, including an effort just wide before a minute had been played.
Hamza Bencherif forced Saul Deeney to tip a header over the top – one of several fine saves from the Matlock man – then Vaughan Redford shot too high as the hosts continued their positive start.
Matlock’s best chance of the game then came ten minutes in, as Joe West’s cross from the left found Josh Barnes six yards out but he headed too high – Karl Demidh seemingly fouled in the build-up but the referee waving penalty appeals away.
Hughes twice more went close but would finally get his goal on 21 minutes, as a deep cross from the left found him inside the penalty area and he fired home a first time strike into the corner of the net.
With the plethora of early chances it was a little surprising there were no more for another 15 minutes or so before a trio right on half-time, Ioan Evans heading over for Matlock, Redford shooting straight at Deeney and then Demidh’s low shot from distance parried away by Cooper and Robbie McNicholas putting a tricky rebound over the top.
The second-half again saw plenty of chances go astray, Jonny Margetts volleying over the top early on then Paul Green inches too high for the hosts.
Hughes flicked wide and Deeney saved well from Jay Rollins, then Margetts got on the end of John Johnston’s cross but Cooper was able to gather comfortably.
Deeney tipped a Hughes header over on 76 minutes, and while the chances were going begging, Matlock perhaps felt a chance always remained of snatching a point.
But Worksop turned the screw in the dying minutes. First Luke Hall broke clear but fired inches too high, before points were secured in the fourth minute of stoppage time when sub Alex Starcenko was released down the middle and finished low past Deeney to send the home support into raptures and complete the victory.
Worksop: Cooper, Atherton, Wilde, Redford (Starcenko 85), Bencherif, Taft, Hawkridge, Green (Wedgbury 71), Hall, Hughes, Rollins.Paul Cooper, Deegan Atherton, Josh Wilde, Vaughan Redford (Aleks Starcenko, 85’), Hamza Bencherif, George Taft, Terry Hawkridge, Paul Green (Sam Wedgbury, 71’), Luke Hall, Liam Hughes, Jay Rollins
Tomlinson, Yaremenko, Hanson
Matlock: Deeney, McNicholas, West, Sharman, Evans, Wilkinson, Johnston, Barnes, Demidh, Margetts, Hooper.
Unused Subs: Styche, Crofts
Star Gladiator: Saul Deeney
Image by Lewis Pickersgill