Matlock Town FC vs Marske United
Matlock Town FC4
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
MATLOCK TOWN 4-1 MARSKE UNITED
The Gladiators bounced back emphatically following their worst performance of the season on Saturday at Warrington to turn on the style in comfortably disposing of visiting Marske United on Tuesday night.
While it wasn’t exactly against all odds, injuries and unavailability dealt Matlock a rough hand with top scorer Alex Wiles missing along with midfielder Brad Abbott, while the big surprise was the inclusion of skipper Ryan Qualter in a three man central defensive unit alongside the partly fit Ioan Evans and Jamie Sharman. Simon Njaria stated in Abbott’s place.
Kallan Murphy partnered Bartosz Cybulski up front, the Irishman putting in a star performance with a goal and a superb assist.
Even after going behind to another spot kick, a highly debateable one it must be said, Matlock’s spirit was unbreakable. They were quickly level from their own penalty, their first of the season and crucially netted a couple of minutes before half time to hold an interval lead. Then two goals in the opening seventeen minutes of the second period confirmed Matlock’s undoubted superiority to earn three points which raised them up to second in the table once again.
Marske’s late arrival resulted in a delayed kick off at 7.55 pm, could Matlock take advantage of any slow starters in the Marske team?
The answer initially was no, both sides making a positive attacking start. But after a couple of half chances at either end, Matlock suddenly upped their game with the message clearly being to make tonight special.
Murphy had a 10th minute opening but chose a slightly stray pass to Cybulski which brought about a corner from which visiting goalkeeper Ryan Catterick made a marvellous instinctive stop to deny the Pole his first home goal for the Gladiators. Seconds later Catterick denied Cybulski again with another first class stop and even then denying Sharman’s follow up. When Catterick was beaten the crossbar came to his rescue when Johnston’s header from a great cross from Byrne rattled the woodwork.
So it came as a surprise when Marske sneaked in front with Josh MacDonald looking to go down far too easily against an Evans challenge, but yet another penalty was awarded and DALE HOPSON struck the Seasiders intyo a 14th minute lead.
Matlock looked for an instant response and there was more controversy when Byrne went down under MacDonald’s challenge on the bye-line when a corner was given, Macdonald being booked and possibly a touch fortunate to stay on after a further assault on Byrne.
From the corner Catterick was adjudged to have impeded Cybulski and BYRNE stroked home from twelve yards for a quick leveller.
Shortly afterwards Marske could not calm the storm as from a quickly taken corner, Jordan Barnett shot into the sidenetting before with Marske looking fragile at the back, Byrne spotted Catterick hopelessly out of position but he hoisted a long range effort wide.
The Seasiders on loan signing from Darlington, Junior Mondal, attacked from deep and his deflected twenty five yarder flashed narrowly wide before a clash between Byrne and Charlie Watts threatened to boil over in front of the Marske bench. Both were spoken to by referee Matthew Tyers before Sharman clashed with the visitors coach who refused to hand the ball to Sharman for the resultant throw,
Jim Pollard held a daisycutter from Connor Smith with Catterick smothering a shot on the run from Byrne but Byrne would have a bigger say when his fantastic pinpoint cross from the right was headed home by MURPHY.
Matlock’s lead could have been doubled only three minutes into the second half as John Johnston broke clear only to lose control at the crucial moment and Catterick was able to pluck the ball away from the Town number seven.
Byrne then flicked the ball past Curtis Round to fire a fierce strike at Catterick but the third goal was not long in coming as on 52 minutes the Marske defence parted like the Red Sea and JOHNSTON this time made no mistake as he ran through to clip a low shot past Catterick. Effective on the flanks, Matlock were also flying without using the wings as they cut open Marske through the centre.
But the best goal was left until last as ten minutes later, an exquisite turn by Murphy again left the Marske defence for dead and his perfectly driven cross was met by the onrushing BARNETT whose thumping header found the gaping net.
Pollard held Hopson’s shot but with the game won, Matlock comfortably saw out the remaining twenty eight minutes with fine game management, and while Marske now had the lion’s share of the play, there was little hint of a comeback
It had been arguably the best Matlock performance since manager Craig Elliott’s arrival. When they’re looking like that, there is every reason to believe that Matlock can at least make the end of season play-offs.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jim Pollard 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Jordan Barnett 4 Mark Lees 5 Ioan Evans 6 Ryan Qualter 7 John Johnston (15 Akeem Hinds 81) 8 Simon Njaria 9 Bartosz Cybulski (14 Shaun Tuton 77) 10 Kallan Murphy 11 Al Byrne (12Kallum Mantack 87) Other subs: 16 Jorome Slew 17 Brad Abbott
MARSKE UNITED: 1 Ryan Catterick 2 Connor Smith 3 Dale Hopson (14 Oscar Fletcher 87) 4 Adam Gell 5 Andrew May 6 Adam Wheatley 7 Josh MacDonald (12 Connor Simpson 57) 8 Junior Mondal 9 Adam Boyes 10 Charlie Watts 11 Curtis Round Other subs: 15 Jack Williams 16 Jaan Yaqub
REFEREE: Matthew Tyers (Sheffield) ATTENDANCE: 565 BEST GLADIATOR: Kallan Murphy