Matlock Town FC vs Morpeth Town
Matlock Town FC2
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
MATLOCK TOWN 2-2 MORPETH TOWN
Matlock twice came back from a goal down in a controversial encounter to earn a deserved point.
A disjointed first half showing saw the Gladiators trailing at the interval with Sam Fishburn slotting the Highwaymen in front on 25 minutes. But a debut goal for striker Karl Demidh had the hosts back on level terms ten minutes into the second half before referee Connor Everard would anger everyone of a Matlock persuasion.
He awarded Morpeth a spot kick on the hour after nothing more than what looked to be an innocent coming together of Jordan Barnett and Morpeth’s Jack Foalle and then compounded matters by showing Barnett a second yellow card to send him for first use of the showers. Connor Thomson restored the visitors lead from the spot.
Ten men Matlock then showed tremendous character and club captain Ryan Qualter levelled again with seven minutes later before there was even more controversy as the game reached its 90th minute, Demidh being wiped out by goalkeeper Dan Lowson, Mr Everard waving for play to continue. Manager Martin Carruthers flung his bobble hat to the floor and was sent to the stands.
It all led to the officials being booed off by a crowd that clearly felt a sense of injustice.
Matlock brought in Jamie Sharman and Jaz Goundry to their defence with Saul Milovanovic starting in midfield John Johnston was back in the side after illness while Demidh would partner Eddie Church in attack.
Morpeth, without a point or goal in six games made the brighter start and after indecision in the Gladiators defence, Adam Yates did well to charge down a Thomson strike with just two minutes on the clock. Then Fishburn created an opening for Andrew Johnson but home goalkeeper Jim Pollard was swiftly off his line to deny him.
Matlock’s first chance came from a 7th minute set piece, Barnett’s free kick being met by Goundry whose downward header was superbly tipped around the post by Lowson, who had given a man of the match performance for Morpeth in his last visit to Matlock last April.
Demidh eventually nodded wide after some head tennis in the Morpeth penalty box before at the other end a quick breakaway saw Foalle blast high over the bar when well placed.
But another break saw Morpeth break their duck, Johnson streaking down the left and his low cross was slotted home by FISHBURN.
The rest of the half was a midfield slog with Matlock creating a couple of opportunities close to the interval, a soft header by Church dropping wide before a curling Al Byrne free kick fell a foot wide of Lowson’s right hand post.
Matlock brought on Simon Njaria for Adam Yates in a change of formation for the second half. They quickly showed more intent in attack as Church’s twenty five yarder flashed wide.
But the equaliser wasn’t long in coming, Johnston doing well on the left to hoist an inviting cross into the box and DEMIDH did the rest with a picture book header into the top of the net.
The Gladiators joy though would not last long, the penalty confidently converted by THOMSON putting Morpeth back in front and the Gladiators once again having a mountain to climb, being in arrears with a man down as Barnett dejectedly trudged to the dressing room.
Carruthers made a double change with twenty minutes left as Matlock began to dominate, Jordan Slew and Alex Duhameau replacing Church and Milovanovic.
Byrne’s shot from eighteen yards flashed narrowly wide before Pollard pulled off a fantastic block save from Fishburn in a quick Morpeth breakaway to keep his side in contention and it proved to be pivotal.
Lowson collected a gentle header by Qualter from a Byrne cross and then Byrne cut in to fire in a sizzling shot which Lowson spectacularly tipped over the bar,
But the deserved second equaliser came when Byrne as has happened so often, was the creator, his great delivery from a right wing corner being straight into the melting pot and being met by QUALTER’s precise header into the corner.
Duhameau covered brilliantly with a timely tackle on Foalle as Morpeth found space in a break away with Matlock going for maximum points.
Then came the huge talking point as Lowson appeared to collide with Demidh with all in the ground expecting Mr Everard to point to the spot. But he dramatically waved play on as lady luck was again not on Matlock’s side.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jim Pollard 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Jordan Barnett 4 Adam Yates (16 Simon Njaria 46) 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Jaz Goundry 7 Al Byrne 8 Saul Milovanovic (12 Alex Duhameau 70) 9 Karl Demidh 10 Eddie Church (15 Jorome Slew 70) 11 John Johnston Other sub: 12 Ioan Evans
MORPETH TOWN: 1 Dan Lowson 2 Josh King 3 Chris Reid 4 Ryan Donaldson 5 Jeff Henderson 6 Michael Turner 7 Jack Foalle 8 Connor Pani 9 Sam Fishburn (14 Dale Pearson 79) 10 Connor Thomson 11 Andrew Johnson Other subs: 12 Bailey Geliher 15 Ben Ramsay 16 Josh Robson
REFEREE: Connor Everard (Barnsley) ATTENDANCE: 702 BEST GLADIATOR: Ryan Qualter