Matlock Town FC vs Atherton Collieries
Matlock Town FC1
The Proctor Cars StadiumEvo Stik NPL
Matlock Town 1-1 Atherton Colleries
It proved to be another frustrating night for Matlock who after their FA Cup exit at the weekend, were held to a 1-1 draw by a stubborn Colleries side making their first visit to the Proctor Cars Stadium.
In a game that was played for the most in rain after surviving an afternoon pitch inspection, Steve Kittrick’s men made the perfect start going ahead inside 5 minutes through top scorer Marcus Marshall, but were pegged back in the 24th minute when Tom Bentham levelled from the penalty spot.
They were unfortunate not to be in front at half time having twice struck the post but they lost the momentum they had built up after the interval and finished the game with ten men when Dan Bramall reacted when cynically held back and was off for an early shower.
There were recalls for club skipper Adam Yates and winger Piteu Crouz while Bailey Gooda made his Matlock debut in the heart of their defence as James Williamson, Josh Lacey and Jordan Sinnott had to settle for places on the substitutes’ bench.
Atherton went straight on to the attack, Dwayne Wiley doing well to block a strong shot from Ben Conway but that would be their last attack for a while with Matlock going in front when MARSHALL beat the offside trap and although he was forced a little wide, still clipped his shot beyond the stranded Oliver Byrne.
Gooda went close with an 11th minute header from a corner on the left as Matlock tried to turn the screw before Spencer Harris became the first booking for an inconsistent referee Alistair Nelson as he fouled Gareth Peat close to the Atherton dug out which brought a ridiculous over reaction from its occupants. Bramall and Andrew Wright linked to set up Crouz who was eventually closed down, his shot having all of the pace taken from it as the Colls defenders closed ranks.
But out of the blue came the equaliser as Bramall tracking back, brought down Peat and BENTHAM was a touch fortunate to score from the spot, Jon Stewart getting a hand to the shot but being unable to keep the ball out. It was the sixth penalty conceded by Matlock in ten games this term, and it is an issue that requires addressing.
Matlock reacted positively, Harris seeing a low effort turned aside by Byrne before Crouz almost singlehandedly might have won the extra points for the Gladiators. Found by Bramall, his shot was deflected behind before he struck the post with a 35th minute free kick.
A shot on the run from slightly outside the penalty box also cannoned off a post with Byrne beaten, the goalkeeper then denying him with a fine diving save from another well hit shot. The half ended with an embarrassing mistake by the official who awarded Atherton a corner, Peat clearly had the last touch when marshalled by Harris, and it might have been costly for Matlock as Daniel Lafferty steamed in to plant a powerful header a couple of feet wide.
Having showed signs of a return to form in the opening half, the second period was a disappointment for the Matlock faithful. Byrne was seldom troubled as the smart link up play which had threatened to see the Gladiators to a comfortable win was sadly lacking. Atherton had more of the few clear cut chances with Stewart well placed to keep out a header from Jordan Cover on 49 minutes and shortly after the mid point of the half, substitute Jack Egan’s shot was well blocked as Matlock struggled for any rhythm.
For Matlock Crouz did well to control a slightly wayward Bramall cross but his finish was comfortably wide of the far post. Stewart’s low save from Vinnie Bailey and Egan’s follow up being blocked kept Town level in a spell when Yates was astonishingly booked when he looked to be impeded. Jack Rea later also went into Mr Nelson’s notebook and frustration had boiled over on 82 minutes when Dave Sherlock made no attempt to play the ball to foul Bramall in full flight, But Bramall reacted with a kick at Sherlock giving Mr Nelson little option but to send him off.
Sherlock was booked but it was an incident that would have been avoided with a better refereeing performance, Atherton’s dissent, spoiling tactics and constant time wasting went unpunished.
Down to ten, Town found extra energy and purpose as the visitors were happy to settle for a point. But quality was lacking in that final third and a game that had started so well ended with two points being dropped.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Stewart 2 Adam Yates 3 Ben Gordon 4 Jack Rea 5 Bailey Gooda 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Dan Bramall 8 Spencer Harris 9 Marcus Marshall 10 Andrew Wright (12 Luke Hinsley 75) 11 Piteu Crouz Other subs: 14 Jordan Sinnott 15 Josh Lacey 16 James Williamson 17 Luke Dean
ATHERTON COLLERIES: 1 Oliver Byrne 2 Niall Battersby 3 Gareth Peet 4 Dave Sherlock 5 Daniel Lafferty 6 Clive Smith 7 Ben Conway 8 Vinnie Bailey 9 Tom Bentham 10 Jordan Cover (15 Jack Egan 69) 11 Kieran Feeney (12 Kieran Nolan 78) Other sub: 17 Chris Cheetham(G/K) Referee: Alistair Nelson (Nottingham) Attendance: 276 Best Gladiator: Piteu Crouz