Matlock Town FC vs Morpeth Town
Matlock Town FC1
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town 1-1 Morpeth Town
Morpeth Town’s first visit to the Proctor Cars Stadium was certainly memorable, but sadly for all of the wrong reasons.
A bad tempered affair saw both sides reduced to ten men, Spencer Harris seeing red for a confrontation with Carl Finnigan in the 43rd minute to be followed by the Highwaymen’s Stephen Turnbull in the 61st minute for a horror tackle on Jude Obiyo straight in front of the main stand and dug outs. Turnbull had earlier been booked for his part in one of many on field conflicts. Surprisingly Liam Henderson was the only other Morpeth player to be booked, while Matlock’s Adam Yates, Dwayne Wiley and Nathan Valentine all went into Barnsley referee Drew Dutton’s notebook.
With a man less Matlock went in front through Marcus Marshall, Morpeth equalising twelve minutes from time through Ryan Hutchinson. But the overriding feeling was that despite the card statistics, Morpeth were the worst behaved team to visit the Proctor Cars Stadium in a very long time. Mr Dutton lost control on several occasions as Morpeth players surrounded him and assaulted Matlock players off the ball. It should lead to a very interesting return game in the north east on March 21.
Matlock gave debuts to goalkeeper Kyle Trenerry and to winger Alex Byrne and both played starring roles, Byrne earning the man of the match award for an all action performance, playing a host of excellent balls into the box, twice striking the woodwork and racing back to cover when Morpeth broke forward.
James Tague and Harris returned to complete the changes from the home defeat to Whitby in their previous outing.
Byrne wasted little time in showing his worth, a teasing low cross being well fielded by goalkeeper Dan Lowson inside thirty seconds. After Trenerry held a deflected shot from Liam Henderson, Nathan Valentine’s volley flew wide before on 8 minutes Trenerry superbly tipped a Liam Noble free kick over the bar.
It was a good open game at this point, Morpeth having the next opportunity on 20 minutes, Liam Henderson planting a free header high and wide from eight yards out.
Byrne was a lick of paint from crowning his debut with a 24th minute goal, Trenerry’s huge punt causing distress in the visitors’ defence, the ball eventually reaching the new boy whose twenty yarder cannoned off the bar with Lowson well beaten.
As tempers became frayed Yates, Liam Henderson and Turnbull were all booked in the same incident, Morpeth players surrounding and screaming at the referee.
Byrne then hit the post just after the half hour, clipping a deep cross from Marshall against Lowson’s left hand upright.
Marshall then appeared to be dragged to the floor but Mr Dutton waved away penalty appeals as the home crowd and players looked on in disbelief. Luke Dean shot tamely at Lowson when well placed.
Liam Noble, one of the leading moaners at the referee, shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box before Harris went for first use of the shower, moving his head towards Carl Finnigan who had put both hands around the centre half’s neck, Finnigan then dramatically holding his head when it looked as if minimal, if any contact had been made.
Matlock dug in until half time and then brought on Ben Gordon, sacrificing young Tague who was tidy in the opening half.
Within three minutes of the restart a low Marshall shot thudded against the post with Matlock wondering if bad luck would again stay with them. But MARSHALL made the breakthrough, getting in front of his marker to push home Byrne’s excellent low centre from the right.
Soon afterwards Turnbull’s terrible challenge on Oyibo made it ten versus ten. Morpeth increased the tempo Gordon made two magnificent challenges to halt Morpeth in their tracks, Finnigan’s header then being superbly kept out by the diving Trenerry.
The new Matlock custodian’s wish for a clean sheet on his debut was denied him when HUTCHINSON found space to bury his header into the net from a right wing corner.
Valentine was booked and a melee saw two Matlock players floored by Jeff Henderson and Lowson, the goalkeeper running twenty yards to get involved. How they escaped without punishment remains a mystery but it was a sad common theme throughout the game.
Substitute Piteu Crouz twice shot wide for the Gladiators and looked to be impeded in the box by Hutchinson, while Valentine superbly blocked a Jack Foalle strike as both sides had to settle for a point.
The crowd applauded Matlock off, their appreciation of Morpeth failed to reach the same level as cries of disgrace were directed at them.
Matlock moved out of the bottom three above Grantham and have four games in hand over the Gingerbreads after gaining what might be a crucial point in the final analysis. If they can maintain the commitment and performance level from this game, they should fight their way out of trouble.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Kyle Trenerry 2 Adam Yates 3 Dwayne Wiley 4 Luke Dean 5 Spencer Harris 6 Bailey Gooda 7 Alex Byrne 8 Nathan Valentine 9 Marcus Marshall (14 Chib Chilaka 84) 10 James Tague (15 Ben Gordon 46) 11 Jude Oyibo (16 Piteu Crouz 62) Other subs: 12 Tomas Poole 17 Brian Wilson
MORPETH TOWN: 1 Dan Lowson 2 Ryan Hutchinson 3 Chris Reid (14 Joe Walton 68) 4 Liam Noble 5 Jeff Henderson 6 Michael Turner 7 Stephen Forster (12 Sean Taylor 83) 8 Sam Hodgson 9 Liam Henderson (16 Jack Foalle 76) 10 Stephen Turnbull 11 Carl Finnigan
Other subs: 15 Callum Williams 17 Shaez Mohammed
REFEREE: Drew Dutton (Barnsley) ATTENDANCE: 249 BEST GLADIATOR: Alex Byrne