Nantwich Town vs Matlock Town FC
The Weaver StadiumEvo Stik NPL
Matlock Town FC1
Nantwich Town 3-1 Matlock Town
The Gladiators suffered their first away defeat of the season and only their second in the league in a hard fought and good quality contest.
At half time a repeat of the 3-0 win at Whitby last weekend looked to be a possibility as they led through Jordan Sinnott, but Nantwich fought back and were boosted by a 51st minute equaliser in Matlock’s worst spell of the game. Their start to the second half cost them any chance of a win, although the hosts could not have complained had the Gladiators gone home with a point.
Joe Malkin, who had netted the equaliser, struck again with eighteen minutes left, the third coming from a breakaway three minutes into stoppage time with Matlock fully committed to forcing an equaliser having most of their team attacking the home goal.
“Matlock have a good side and I was happy it was just one at half time” said Nantwich boss Dave Cooke afterwards. “I said that to the lads without shouting too much and they turned it around in the second half.”
Gladiators chief Steve Kittrick bemoaned Matlock’s start to the second half.
“It was those ten minutes that cost us, other than that we played very well. 3-1 flatters them but as I’ve said before you win and lose games in the first and last ten minutes, Nantwich scored after about six minutes in the second half.”
The two goal final deficit was harsh on Matlock. Two good sides were on show and both will harbour hopes of being in the top six by the end of the campaign.
Sam Scrivens came in for the suspended Dan Bramall in the only change to the Whitby starting line-up with Piteu Crouz joining the substitutes bench after injury.
Scrivens was a constant menace to Nantwich in the first half and although that diminished after the break, it was caused more by him not having the supply of possession he enjoyed in the opening period.
After a wayward shot for each side in the opening exchanges, Matlock had penalty appeals rejected when from distance it looked as if Marcus Marshall had been felled in the box. Referee Greg Rollason though was closer and waved away the Gladiators’ appeals.
Then it was time for Scrivens to come into his own. On 20 minutes he cut in from the left, his twenty yarder drifting wide. Malkin drove over the bar as Nantwich replied immediately but in the 24th minute Scrivens came even closer, latching on to a quickly taken free kick on the left to fire fiercely goalwards, his shot beating goalkeeper Greg Hall but finding the sidenetting.
Most of the play was now in the hosts’ half, the Dabbers defenders having to work overtime to break up a series of Gladiators attacks. Luke Hinsley had a sniff of a chance as he pulled down a long ball, a great interception by Josh Langley denying him a shooting chance at the expense of a corner. Malkin drove wide of the near post in a rare home attack.
Matlock deservedly went in front five minutes before the break, Scrivens finding space on the left flank to whip in a delicious cross which SINNOTT glanced beyond Hall. The visitors could be well pleased with their efforts thus far.
But then almost inexplicably, they lost their way in the start to the second half after creating the first opportunity, Sinnott being found by Josh Lacey, his stinging shot being held by Hall.
Nantwich’s neat interplay began to find holes in the Matlock rearguard which was breached when following a penetrating run from midfielder David Webb, MALKIN shot low past Jon Stewart
Matlock defended well to stay level although Sean Cooke’s inviting low cross flashed a cross the visitors’ six yard box when a touch would probably have brought them a goal.
Matlock countered with Marshall stretching to divert a Ben Gordon centre over the bar but Nantwich took the lead when Stewart pushed out Cooke’s shot, MALKIN swept home the loose ball.
Luke Dean made his return from the bench and almost had an immediate impact, his low shot from the edge of the penalty box looked to be sneaking in until Hall produced a fine save to claw the ball away for a corner.
Matlock battled hard for an equaliser, Sinnott’s low shot on the turn falling inches wide and Hall being well placed to field another Dean effort.
But their hopes of a point were extinguished in stoppage time as they were left hopelessly outnumbered at the back as Nantwich broke at pace from a Matlock corner. James Lawrie remained calm as he squared for CASPAR HUGHES to push his shot home and win Nantwich maximum points.
Kittrick’s men will be kicking themselves for relinquishing the initiative. They were in control although Nantwich deserve immense credit for their fightback. But there was still much to admire in their performance.
NANTWICH TOWN: 1 Greg Hall 2 Joe Davis 3 Matty Devine 4 Ben Harrison (15 Joel Stair 46) 5 Josh Langley 6 Caspar Hughes 7 Joe Mwasile (14 Troy Bourne 90) 8 David Webb 9 Joe Malkin 10 Sean Cooke (17 Valdemar Schousboe 90) 11 James Lawrie Other subs: 12 Matty Bell 16 Luke Walsh
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Stewart 2 Josh Lacey 3 Ben Gordon 4 Jack Rea 5 Bailey Gooda 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Marcus Marshall 8 Spencer Harris (15 Luke Dean 73) 9 Luke Hinsley (17 Piteu Crouz 81) 10 Jordan Sinnott 11 Sam Scrivens Other subs: 12 Adam Yates 14 James Williamson 16 Scott Smith
REFEREE: Greg Rollason (Wolverhampton) ATTENDANCE: 255 BEST GLADIATOR: Sam Scrivens