Matlock Town FC vs Workington AFC
Matlock Town FC2
The Proctor Cars StadiumNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town 2-2 Workington
Two goals ahead with just under twenty minutes remaining and seemingly in control, the Gladiators wasted the chance to record a welcome and vital home win as the Reds fought back to claim a share of the spoils.
Josh Barnes had given the Gladiators an interval lead which was doubled by Jonny Margetts 17th goal of the season twelve minutes into the second half.
But the game changed when Workington’s substitutes entered the fray, Dave Symington and Greg McCaragher both finding the target to set up a nervous finish when either side could have claimed the additional two points.
Matlock will obviously be the more disappointed, they should have seen the game out, it needed someone on the park to take the game by the scruff of the neck and dictate proceedings.
Boss Martin Carruthers gave debuts to both of his latest recruits, Finlay Armond from Sleaford Town played in the hole just behind Margetts and Harry Wood in the centre of midfield, Wood returning to the Gladiators after a four and a half years absence looking a much more mature player. Olly Clark was omitted while Karl Demidh was out with a foot injury sustained against Bedford Town seven days earlier.
Matlock began on the front foot forcing two corners and Margetts did well to block a clearance that cannoned wide but on 6 minutes Workington could and should have gone in front when George Wilkinson caught Steven Rigg to concede a penalty but Connor Tinnion’s spot kick was well saved by Saul Deeney low to his right before the ball was knocked clear from danger.
Two minutes later it was Matlock who came close, John Johnston crossing low from the right to Margetts who simply could not get enough on the ball to convert but still troubled goalkeeper Jim Atkinson who grabbed the ball just as it looked to be trickling across the line.
Ioan Evans did well to block a strike from Kitt Nelson but with 16 minutes on the clock Matlock found the breakthrough as Armond released the supporting BARNES to fire past Atkinson.
Matlock grew in confidence in what was an entertaining game for a good 898 crowd. It might have been two for the Gladiators after 28 minutes when Armond crossed for Margetts whose shot was well saved by Atkinson’s legs. Andrew Wright was off target in the next breath and with the last action of the half Barnes saw his shot charged down after Wilkinson had broke superbly down the right. These two chances sandwiched a Workington effort, a Tinnion free kick passing the far post.
Workington came out for the second half to try and force the early pace but Matlock stood firm before re-establishing control.
Johnston was again a threat down the right as he put over a teasing cross just out of the onrushing Barnes’ radar. But the second Gladiators goal arrived in the 57th minute, a quick free kick released Johnston down the right and his accurate low centre was tucked away in trademark fashion by MARGETTS.
That should have been game over but Workington had other ideas.
They halved their deficit when centre back Niall Brockwell stormed forward to be fouled some twenty odd yards from goal and SYMINGTON curled a delicious free kick into the top corner giving Deeney no chance with nineteen minutes left.
Soon afterwards there was a chance for Johnston who raced down the right only to see Atkinson do well to block his shot but Workington now were on a roll and forcing the pace. Their industry was rewarded with an 80th minute leveller, full back Finlay Wallbank’s probing run and cross being touched home by McCARAGHER and now there was a danger that Matlock could even lose the game from a once dominant position.
A cracking finish ensued with Symington shooting wildly over the bar when well placed for the visitors who also came close when a Symington cross missed everyone, just requiring a touch to make it 3-2. The Gladiators twice hit the woodwork. Barnes on 83 minutes surprising Atkinson from distance, the goalkeeper somehow deflecting the shot against the foot of the post and with virtually the last kick of the game, Johnston crashed a powerful strike against the bar, in truth he would be disappointed not to hit the target. In between substitute Harry Wakefield broke down the inside left channel his well hit strike drifting wide of the far post.
So two points dropped for Matlock but some positives in that the debutants both had good games and Johnston looks to be back to his old self on the right flank.
The negative as Carruthers agreed was his side’s lack of game management which cost them dearly.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Saul Deeney 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Joe West 4 Andrew Wright (12 Harry Wakefield 76) 5 Ioan Evans 6 George Wilkinson 7 John Johnston 8 Harry Wood 9 Finlay Armond (14 Olly Clark 81) 10 Jonny Margetts 11 Josh Barnes Other subs: 15 Robbie McNicholas 16 Alex Duhameau 17 Nat Crofts
WORKINGTON: 1 Jim Atkinson 2 Finlay Wallbank 3 Keelan Leslie 4 Gabriel Rios-Newton (14 Dave Symington 61) 5 Niall Brockwell 6 Cieran Casson 7 Kitt Nelson (15 Kofi Moore 61) 8 Brad Hubbold 9 Steven Rigg 10 Scott Allison (12 Greg McCaragher 73) 11 Connor Tinnion Other subs: 16 Connor Hammell 17 Matthew Bell
REFEREE: Jake Allsopp (Wolverhampton) ATTENDANCE: 898 BEST GLADIATOR: John Johnston