Matlock Town FC vs Whitby Town
Matlock Town FC2
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
MATLOCK TOWN 2-3 WHITBY TOWN
Matlock boss Paul Phillips labelled the Gladiators display as ”gutless” as the slipped disappointingly to a second successive home league defeat to sixth placed Whitby. It was the Seasiders fourth win at Matlock on the trot.
“We were gutless and gave away three horrendous goals. People didn’t win their personal battles, people didn’t take responsibility for what the needed to do and that’s down to me to sort out” rapped an angry Phillips afterwards.
The Gladiators were without suspended skipper Liam Hughes and the injured Callum Chippendale from the team which had beaten Rushden & Diamonds in the FA Trophy seven days previously. Jamie Cooke was recalled and played alongside Jerome Greaves in attack with Liam King coming into the midfield. Phillips had signed his son , defender Finlay from New Mills on the morning of the game and he was named as a substitute.
Matlock’s bad day at the office started early as they were trailing inside three minutes. Whitby had begun brightly, Jacob Hazel’s header being blocked but SONI FERGUS following up drilled a low shot under Shaun Rowley.
The visitors remained on the front foot as Matlock struggled to fashion any worthwhile openings. Whitby won a number of corners as they pushed Matlock back and their hard work brought them a second goal in the 27th minute. A pass down the left deflected off the covering Alex Byrne to drop perfectly for BRADLEY FEWSTER to bury an easy chance with a crisp low finish past the unprotected Rowley.
Manager Phillips took instant action, bringing on Alex Wiles for King who had earlier been booked. It took until the 29th minute for Matlock to create an opening, a Greaves header being deflected wide for a corner. At least Matlock now were enjoying more possession and in a good spell up to the interval, they halved their deficit when Kendall’s header was only half cleared to Byrne on the right. The number seven swung in an inviting cross which GREAVES met with a firm downward header to give the Gladiators hope two minutes before the break.
The hope was that Matlock could push on in the second half but it was a quiet start in terms of chances, Wiles striking a crisp shot which was well saved by Shane Bland being the first in the 56th minute.
But then it was Whitby who twice came close to a third goal as Matlock uncharacteristically looked all at sea defensively. Harry Green had two chances in four minutes, one which Rowley got a vital touch on to divert the shot beyond the far post and then when Jamie Sharman misjudged the bounce of the ball, Green was in at the far post but hooked high and wide when he looked certain to score.
Jesurun Uchegbulam replaced Greaves at the midway point of the half to add pace to the home attack but their comeback hopes took a huge blow in the 70th minute when a howler from Rowley who knocked his clearance straight to GREEN ended with a simple tap into a vacant net from twenty yards. That moment seemed to sum up Matlock’s day of lethargy and errors .
Rowley atoned somewhat for that gaffe by pulling off a good save from substitute Marcus Giles before Matlock made their final change, Craig King entering the fray in place of Mark Lees.
UCHEGBULAM set up a potential grandstand finish when he left a sleeping Whitby defence for dead to lift a calm finish over Bland with seven minutes still remaining.
But Matlock didn’t have the quality to force an equaliser, everyone’s frustration being emphasised when Kendall shot horribly off target from distance.
Whitby though deserved their win in front of an impressive 753 attendance, Matlock again not performing how they know they can in front of a good home crowd.
Hazel came close to a fourth for Whitby in stoppage time, Rowley doing well to deny him at his near post.
Ryan Qualter summarised things well in an after match tweet. “Got what we deserved today” he said. Few could argue with that.
Matlock still have a two point lead at the top thanks to South Shields draw at Atherton but unbeaten Buxton lurk ominously down in fourth and will be comfortable leaders if they continue their run of form.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Shaun Rowley 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Reece Kendall 4 Ioan Evans 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees (16 Craig King 81) 7 Alex Byrne 8 Matt Sargent 9 Jerome Greaves (14 Jesurun Uchegbulam 68) 10 Jamie Cooke 11 Liam King (12 Alex Wiles 27) Other subs: 15 Kayde Coppin 17 Finlay Phillips
WHITBY TOWN: 1 Shane Bland 2 Nathan Dyer 3 Jassen Sukar 4 Soni Fergus 5 Daniel Rowe 6 Jameel Ible 7 Harry Green 8 Priestley Keithley 9 Jacob Hazel 10 Bradley Fewster (12 Marcus Giles 70) 11 Jake Hackett Other subs: 14 Liam Cooke 15 Jonathan Burn 16 Coleby Shepherd 17 Nicholas Cranston
REFEREE: Jamie O’Connor (Chesterfield) ATTENDANCE: 753 BEST GLADIATOR: Alex Wiles