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Matlock Town FC vs Warrington Rylands

Attendance: 634 Referee: Ashley Royston (Barnsley)Date: 23 September 2023
Club Matlock Town FC

Matlock Town FC


The Proctor Cars Stadium

Northern Premier League
Club Warrington Rylands

Warrington Rylands


Match Report


A rare home defeat for the Gladiators who were always chasing the game after a calamitous start which saw them two goals down in seventeen minutes.

This was where the game was won or lost with Rylands being brighter out of the blocks.But Matlock found a way back into the contest halving their deficit shortly before the break and with the tide turning in their favour, inexcusable defending allowed the visitors to regain their two goal lead within nine minutes of the resumption. Matlock netted again soon afterwards but could not find a leveller and the third placed men in red sealed te game deep into stoppage time.

Matlock are not used to losing at home so this defeat will hurt. But they were second best in the middle of the park which put undue pressure on a back line which lacked cohesion at crucial times in the contest. That said, Matlock could easily have won the game, they could have overturned their deficit by the interval. But it was a case of what if, the Gladiators could not do the basics right when it mattered.

Ad Sidibeh, a lively frontrunner with a sharp turn of pace, was a constant thorn in the side of Matlock. He netted twice, one a screamer and the other from a defensive howler but his performance won him man of the match on a day when Matlock simply failed to cope with his aggression and movement.

Karl Demidh replaced Reece Styche in the one change to the starting line up beaten at Stourbridge in the FA Cup seven days earlier. Matlock named a full compliment of outfield substitutes with Sam Hooper there after injury.

Sidibeh threatened early firing straight at Saul Deeney after a slick 3rd minute move but two minutes later Rylands were in front when Robbie McNicholas made a fantastic goal line clearance to keep out BEN HOUGH’s initial shot but the ball looped up conveniently for the midfielder to nod in the rebound.

Matlock were slow in settling although there was hope when McNicholas had a firm strike well blocked as Matlock at last exerted some pressure. But when Matlock easily surrendered possession in midfield, the ball was quickly played to SIBIDEH who cracked a tremendous shot beyond Deeney from 22 yards and Matlock looked in serious trouble.

Olly Clark drove wide from 15 yards but Rylands threatened again through Sibideh whose effort from a long throw deflected away for a corner. Sidibeh then beat some home challenges far too easily to fire wide of Deeney’s left hand post.

Matlock badly needed a spark and things improved in the run up to the interval.

A George Wilkinson back header dropped narrowly wide and a half hit Joe West strike was gathered by goalkeeper Luke Pilling. Town were terribly unfortunate on 36 minutes when Jonny Margetts played in Nat Crofts down the left, the winger’s shot towards the far post bringing a crucial and fantastic goal line clearance from James Butler.

But MARGETTS had Matlock back in contention on 41 minutes with a deadly finish after Ioan Evans had shown great persistence on the right before providing the low cross Margetts just loves to feed off.

Then Pilling pulled off an amazing save. Whether he knew too much about John Johnston’s header is debateable, but he somehow managed to find a telling flying miraculous save to deny Matlock a leveller.

Half time came at the wrong time for Matlock but initially the early second half signs were good, Karl Demidh breaking down the left but the angle was acute as he fired high and wide of the near post.Josh Barnes had a strike blocked before the hosts shot themselves in the foot, SIDIBEH having a far too eassy route to goal to slot in his second and Warrington’s third goal on 54 minutes.

It was a body blow for Matlock without a doubt but DEMIDH cut the deficit on 61 minutes with a goal out of nothing, an instant low twenty yarder flashing past a startled Pilling.

Matlock then had a real go at saving themselves. Three out and out strikers on the field as Evans headed wide, and a cross cum shot from Hooper almost caught out Pilling who helped the ball on to the top of the bar. Barnes fired inches too high before two good chances fell to Matlock just a few yards from goal. But they dropped to Evans and then Wilkinson who could only scuff their shots.

A trademark Harry Wakefield drive flew inches past an upright and with Matlock throwing men forward, Warrington were holding on. But the breakaway threat was always there, Deeney holding a Sidibeh strike and McNicholas again finding a magnificent goal line clearance to deny Edy Maeico.

Rylands put the match to bed when after beating Deeney SCOTT BAKKOR had a clear route to goal to push home the fourth Rylands goal to extend their unbeaten league run to seven games.

Matlock are badly missing a leader on the pitch. Their defending was naïve at times but the defence cannot shoulder the blame entirely. A midfield general is desperately needed, the Gladiators were outfought and outthought in this department and this issue needs urgent attention.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Saul Deeney 2 Robbie McNicholas 3 Joe West 4 Olly Clark (17 Sam Hooper 62) 5 Ioan Evans 6 George Wilkinson 7 John Johnston (15 Andrew Wright 75) 8 Josh Barnes 9 Karl Demidh 10 Jonny Margetts 11 Nat Crofts (12 Harry Wakefield 62) Other subs: 14 Reece Styche 16 Jamie Sharman

WARRINGTON RYLANDS: 1 Luke Pilling 2 Clive Smith 3 David Swaby-Nevin 4 James Butler 5 Sam Wilson 6 Dean Furman 7 Ben Hardcastle 8 James Nield 9 Ad Sidibeh (16 Edy Maieco 83) 10 Ben Hough (17 Scott Bakkor 67) 11 James Baillie (14 Joe Piggott 83) Other subs: 12 Matt Regan 15 Paul Kyffin

REFEREE: Ashley Royston (Barnsley) ATTENDANCE: 634 BEST GLADIATOR: Robbie McNicholas