Matlock Town FC vs Lancaster City
Matlock Town FC0
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town 0-1 Lancaster City
Lancaster substitute and recent loan signing from Preston North End Joe Rodwell-Grant netted as last minute winner to condemn the ten men of Matlock to a disappointing defeat at a wet and windswept Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday.
The Gladiators had earlier had defensive king pin Ryan Qualter harshly sent off for a challenge with Liam Brockbank with both men going in hard for an awkward ball that was there to be won.
But overall it was a well below par display from Paul Phillips’men, the most they would have deserved being a point from a scoreless draw which would have kept the status quo at the top of the league with all of the other top six contenders drawing their games. From that point of view, things could have been a lot worse, but if South Shields win their game in hand on Matlock, they will overtake the Gladiators and lead by a point.
Callum Chippendale replaced Terry Hawkridge in the starting line up in the one change to the team that had beaten Bamber Bridge in the previous game a fortnight ago. New signing Jack Hindle was on the bench with Jesurun Uchegbulam dropping out of the sixteen,
Captain Liam Hughes was narrowly wide with a volley inside the opening twenty five seconds but that good attempt proved to be a false dawn as neither side created much of note in a scrappy affair spoilt by the conditions and by the constant shrill of the referee’s whistle.
Nathan Reid headed too high for City in the 10th minute but the game was for the most part a war of attrition in midfield with neither side able to gain the upper hand.
One talking point though was the two footed lunge by City’s Simon Wills on Alex Byrne that brought about a yellow card, when given Qualter’s challenge later, it ought to have been red.
Marcus Marshall stung the palms of visiting goalkeeper Curtis Anderson with a well struck shot in the 38th minute, Byrne firing wide in the next minute but the interval arrived with the scoreline unsurprisingly blank.
With the elements in their favour in the second half, City made a bright start with a Christian Sloan volley flashing past a post.
Matlock made two changes in quick succession, Ross Hannah replacing Marshall and Hawkridge entering the fray for Chippendale. Hannah would soon have a chance but he could only lift Hawkridge’s low cross over the bar.
Mark Lees shot harmlessly too high after another Hawkridge pass but with 65 minutes gone came the sending off which given Wills’ challenge earlier, understandably angered the home support.
Lancaster pushed forward for the rest of the contest as Matlock defended stoutly and it looked as if the hosts would hang on for a hard earned draw but with the contest entering it’s final minute, two City substitutes combined to administer the killer blow. Enoch Likoy teed up RODWELL-GRANT who fired a firm low strike into the corner.
Matlock immediately sent on Hindle for a debut but they could not find a response in stoppage time and so suffered a fourth home defeat of the campaign, their first loss in seven league matches since Stafford beat them on December 4.
Manager Phillips said his side deserved nothing from the game.
“The better side won” he admitted. “We got what we deserved, nothing, we lost all the battles and were miles off it.”
It was a game to forget for Matlock and a timely reminder that a below par performance will be punished in what is a tough and competitive division.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Joe Young 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Reece Kendall 4 Ioan Evans 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees (16 Jack Hindle 90) 7 Alex Byrne 8 Alex Wiles 9 Liam Hughes 10 Marcus Marshall (14 Ross Hannah 54) 11 Callum Chippendale (12 Terry Hawkridge 58) Other subs: 15 Luke Daly 17 Liam King
LANCASTER CITY: 1 Curtis Anderson 2 Charlie Bailey 3 Liam Brockbank (16Enoch Likoy 67) 4 Ben Anderson 5 Andy Teague 6 Glenn Steel 7 Simon Wills (14 Sam Bailey 46) 8 Niall Cowperthwaite 9 Nathan Reid (15 Joe Rodwell-Grant 63) 10 Robert Wilson 11 Christian Sloan Other subs: 12 Ben Hudson 17 Joel Davidson
REFEREE: Declan Brown (Manchester) ATTENDANCE: 626 BEST GLADIATOR: Ioan Evans