Gainsborough Trinity vs Matlock Town FC
The NortholmeNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town FC0
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 3-0 MATLOCK TOWN
They ended 2022 on a high but it undoubtedly case of contrasting emotions as Matlock Town made an inauspicious start to 2023 with defeat a third placed Gainsborough on Monday.
Already a goal down, their task was made virtually impossible when goalkeeper Jim Pollard was sent off in the 35th minute for handling outside the box, a natural reaction for a number one in trying to block a cross shot from the left.
Pollard, cautioned earlier for delaying the restart of play at a Trinity throw, made the long lonely walk to the changing room, Al Byrne taking over between the sticks and Matlock, obviously a man down for the remaining sixty five plus minutes.
Undeniably Trinity were the better side and fully deserved winners. They were the one of three teams on the park who operated with a mode of efficiency, Matlock, although dogged, struggled to hold up play in attack and to control the midfield area, meaning their defence came under a barrage of pressure. The third team on the field, the match officials, were as unconvincing as the Gladiators, a procession of error ridden decisions with the visitors mainly on the receiving end adding to the frustration in the Matlock camp.
Martin Carruthers named an unchanged starting eleven from the 4-0 win over Belper but made changes on the bench with new striker Jack Deakin and Jamie Sharman being included.
Gainsborough began strongly with former Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham and Bradford City striker miskicking altogether when well placed six yards out inside ninety seconds.
Matlock replied with Eddie Church on the turn being harshly adjudged to have impeded Hayden Cann, a decision which would set the tone for the afternoon.
A lofted Bailey Conway cross struck the top side of the bar before a flurry of pressure brought the Holy Blues three successive corners. Trinity continued to probe as an intricate move ended with Liam Waldock’s shot being deflected wide, then efforts from Donaldson and Conway failing to trouble Pollard.
But the pressure told when on 31 minutes, CURTIS DUROSE shot low inside Pollard’s right hand post after Cann kept a set piece on the boil.
Saul Milovanovic replaced the limping Bradley Abbott and the hat-trick of first half blows was completed with Pollard’s red card.
But Ryan Qualter was within an ace of getting on the end of a Jordan Barnett free kick and a fiercely struck Jorome Slew centre was grabbed by Matt Yates as half time approached.
Matlock were out quickly for the second half, but it was the hosts who had the first sight of goal, Charlie Carter firing narrowly wide.
But the Gladiators were certainly growing into the game and Alexander Duhameau had a great chance to level but Yates read the youngster’s intentions to a tee, diving to his left to tip the powerful strike to safety.
2 / 2
Trinity took full advantage of the let-off to double their lead on 57 minutes, WALDOCK cutting in from the left to curl a fine twenty yarder into the corner, a shot that few first choice goalkeepers would have stopped, never mind outfield replacement Byrne.
Matlock brought on Jaz Goundry and Deakin with former Matlock midfielder Andrew Wright stepping off the bench for the hosts.
Frazer Preston’s attempt was both high and wide before Church who never stopped grafting, was pulled back by Cann who received a yellow card, the Matlock fans sarcastically cheering the decision of referee David Jones.
Byrne made a fine stop from Donaldson and given the circumstances the scoreline at this point was quite respectable, the winger turned goalkeeper confidently repelling the Trinity attack and soundly organising his defensive cover.
There would still be two more blows for the Gladiators to come though. Jordan Barnett received his tenth booking of the campaign after a skirmish in midfield and possibly some words of frustration to Mr Jones meaning a two game ban is imminent.
Then in the dying seconds after Byrne had superbly kept out a strike from substitute Prosper Keto, the assistant drew the referee’s attention to an incident straight afterwards when Byrne was adjudged to have kicked Keto.
When the commotion died down, Mr Jones satisfied himself with the award of a penalty, nonchalantly tucked away by DONALDSON with the last kick of the game.
To their credit all in a Matlock shirt put in a shift but following Pollard’s dismissal, the odds were stacked outrageously against them. Trinity had that extra bit of quality as their pass and move style plus effective wing play comfortably paid dividends.
A word of praise for the Matlock away support, proud and loud on a day when they had little to get excited about.
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY: 1 Matt Yates 2 George Hornshaw (16 Prosper Keto 86) 3 Joe West 4 Bailey Conway 5 Hayden Cann 6 Dylan Cogill 7 Curtis Durose 8 Charlie Carter (14 Andrew Wright 60) 9 Clayton Donaldson 10 Liam Waldock (15 Isaac Rice 7711 Fraser Preston Other subs: 12 Ethan Bejang 17 Neal Bishop
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 James Pollard 2 Adam Yates 3 Jordan Barnett 4 Mark Lees 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Ioan Evans 7 Al Byrne 8 Bradley Abbott (15 Saul Milovanovic 32) 9 Jorome Slew (12 Jack Deakin 60) 10 Eddie Church 11 Alex Duhameau (14 Jaz Goundry 60) Other subs: 16 John Johnston 17 Jamie Sharman
REFEREE: David Jones (Brigg) ATTENDANCE: 1137 BEST GLADIATOR: Al Byrne