Matlock Town FC vs Scarborough Athletic
Matlock Town FC0
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town 0-0 Scarborough Athletic
Only time will tell whether this is a good point for Matlock in the NPL title race, but what cannot be denied is that this was a cracking game for a 0-0 scoreline.
The match could have gone either way as both teams slogged it out before a healthy 723 crowd, the result being fair meaning that Matlock’s lead at the top of the table is now five points, while Scarborough remain in the hunt for a play off spot in sixth spot, having lost just once in their previous eight matches.
Gladiators boss Paul Phillips included both of his new signings, Basford pair Marcus Marshall and Terry Hawkridge in his starting line-up, Callum Chippendale and Liam King dropping to the bench from the team which had won at Witton last weekend. Ross Hannah and Jesurun Uchegbulam were also named as substitutes in a strong looking Matlock squad. Former Matlock defender Bailey Gooda was in the Scarborough team.
In a game which was competitive throughout, the first chance of note fell Matlock’s way in the 10th minute, Ioan Evans heading too high from one of a number of corners forced by the Gladiators in the opening exchanges.
Town looked the more dangerous in the opening exchanges with both Marshall and Hawkridge prominent but the Gladiators could not find the killer instinct in the Borough penalty box.
Home goalkeeper Joe Young, on his home debut, was forced to advance at pace to deny Brad Plant after a through pass had cut through the home defence, and he recovered brilliantly as he slithered along the slippery surface to emphatically clear his lines.
Al Byrne’s ambitious strike from distance was both high and wide as at this point, Matlock continued to ask most of the questions. They badly needed a goal to make their pressure count.
But then a wayward Jamie Sharman back pass looked to have put Young in strife but with Kieran Glynn applying the pressure, Young again did well to mop up and keep his goal intact.
The Seadogs had now got a foothold in proceedings and a neat move down the left saw Evans do well to intercept a dangerous low ball from Cameron Wilson at the expense of as corner.
Liam Hughes nearly surprised Borough custodian Ryan Whitley with a first timer from twenty yards which flashed narrowly wide before the visitors threatened again when Young got a crucial touch on Plant’s cross before Mark Lees completed the clearance and then three minutes before the break, Day could only tamely sidefoot another cross towards Young who made a routine pick up.
As in the first period, Matlock began the second half brightly.
Hughes won possession superbly to cut in and opt for a shot instead of a pass to Byrne, the ball skimming off a defender for a corner in the opening two minutes. Matlock forced two corners, the second of which saw Reece Kendall slice off target and after a session of head tennis, Ryan Qualter ballooned his shot high over the bar on to the cricket pitch.
But Borough responded positively with some quick intricate passing and they should have broken the deadlock on 53 minutes when Young did well to block a low strike from Lewis Moloney, only for Plant with just Young to beat to fire wide.
Kendall’s looping header was comfortably grasped by Whitley before at the other end, Wilson’s low shot beat Young’s right hand upright.
Marshall and Hawkridge made way for Uchegbulam amd Chippendale as the intense game never dropped in pace, and Young kept Matlock level with another good stop from Plant after Kieran Glynn had burst through centrally from midfield.
Whitley, whose handling was otherwise exemplary, dropped a Byrne cross to cause flutters in the Seadogs defence, but the ball ran kindly for them.
A Hughes header was easily claimed by Whitley before Hannah was on for Wiles in a final throw of the dice by Phillips.
Byrne became one of six bookings for a trip on Glynn which caused a coming together of several players, Will Thornton also being yellow carded to add to earlier cautions for Kendall and Lees for Matlock and Moloney and Wilson for the visitors.
In stoppage time Hannah came steaming in to rocket in a thirty five yarder which, had it gone in, would have brought the house down. Instead a defender’s bootlace saw the shot fizz wide as both sides had to settle for a draw.
It brought Matlock’s winning run to an end at the fifth time of asking but few would argue that Scarborough, a good outfit on the night who had won at both Warrington and Bamber Bridge recently, and beaten Buxton at home seven days earlier, were worthy of a point.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Joe Young 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Reece Kendall 4 Ioan Evans 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Al Byrne 8 Alex Wiles (15 Ross Hannah 79) 9 Liam Hughes 10 Terry Hawkridge ( 14 Callum Chippendale 67) 11 Marcus Marshall (16 Jesurun Uchegbulam 54) Other subs: 12 Liam King 17 Nathan Okome
SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC: 1 Ryan Whitley 2 Kieran Weledji (15 Ryan Watson 15) 3 Ashley Jackson 4 Simon Heslop (16 Luca Colville 45) 5 Will Thornton 6 Bailey Gooda 7 Brad Plant 8 Lewis Moloney 9 Jacob Day 10 Kieran Glynn 11 Cameron Wilson (14 James Cadman 87)
REFEREE: Jamie O’Connor (Chesterfield) ATTENDANCE: 723 BEST GLADIATOR: Ioan Evans