Warrington Town vs Matlock Town FC
Cantilever ParkNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town FC1
Warrington Town 3-1 Matlock Town
It wasn’t the best of days at the office for Matlock Town who were well beaten at Cantilever Park.
A disjointed Matlock performance, the defeat and the likelihood of being without captain Ryan Qualter for several weeks as the current fans player of the year eventually succumbed to his persistent knee injury, left Matlock boss Craig Elliott in an angry mood afterwards.
“Quite honestly I didn’t see that coming, we didn’t show any motivation, there was no intensity and we were easy to play against. Warrington are a very good side, they’ve got a big squad and credit to them. But we were poor defensively and their set pieces caused us problems all afternoon, they were ready for us, they deserved to win now I’m looking for a reaction on Tuesday night.”
Elliott made one enforced change with Kallum Mantack coming in for Reece Kendall now at Spennymoor United.
Warrington were straight on the attack to win a corner in the opening minute which was poorly delivered but the first signs of what was to come were already apparent. Shortly afterwards, Qualter went down injured but after some treatment from Alex Walker was able to soldier on.
Pollard failed to claim a 7th minute free kick which caused some panic in the visiting rearguard, Jamie Sharman eventually hacking the ball clear. There was danger from both flanks and when Eddie Clarke sprinted down the left, his low cross was scrambled clear.
Al Byrne put in a good looking cross in Matlock’s first attack of note in the 20th minute, Bartosz Cybulski heading directly at Tony Thompson, the assistant’s flag being raised in any event so the effort would not have counted had it found the net.
But STEFAN MOLS was probing to be a handy box of tricks for the Yellows on the right and he found the target with a fierce strike from the edge of the box which comprehensively sizzled past Pollard to give the hosts a 23rd minute lead. Jordan Barnett was the first of four cautions for Matlock, for a foul during the build up..
Just after the half hour Mantack’s great covering header prevented further strife for the visitors after a penetrating pass from captain Sean Williams looked to be on a plate for the onrushing Clarke.
But the respite would not last long as Qualter brought down Callum Woods to concede the Gladiators sixth penalty of the season and earn a yellow card.. Pollard dived to his left to pull off a great save from Williams’ spot kick but as was typical of their afternoon, they failed to make that count. From the resulting corner, nobody picked up JAY HARRIS who ran around the back to force in Warrington’s second goal of the afternoon on 33 minutes.
Matlock now had a mountain to climb but they nearly found a way back four minutes later. A route one move which saw Pollard’s huge clearance beat the home defence to find Byrne but Thompson backpedalled to claim his well intended lob just under the crossbar.
Two more chances came Matlock’s way before the break, Cybulski flicking his header wide from Byrne’s corner and John Johnston broke clear but had to cut inside and his shot dropped disappointingly wide.
Matlock made their first change at the start of the second period, the injured Brad Abbott being replaced by Kallan Murphy but any hopes of a recovery were dashed within three minutes of the restart.
A Williams free kick was pushed out by Pollard but it was Warrington who reacted the quicker and WOODS blasted in a close range finish for 3-0 and effectively game over.
Qualter came off to be replaced by Ioan Evans although Matlock had a chance of a 53rd minute replay when Byrne decided not to shoot and then saw Thompson safely gather his centre.
Byrne was then chopped down by Josh Seary who deservedly went into the referee’s notebook but Warrington had the bit between their teeth, Matty McDonald chipping wide before Pollard parried a strike from Woods, an uncomfortable Mark Lees having had his pocket picked by Williams to create the chance.
Cybulski ought to have reduced the deficit on 65 minutes being clear in a one on one with Thompson but it was the goalkeeper who came out on top to deny the on loan Derby striker.
A Byrne free kick dropped wide and bookings for McDonald and Matlock’s Evans followed.
Johnston was unfortunate when he struck the bar with six minutes left, the ball bouncing conveniently for the hosts to clear their lines but a consolation did come the visitors way in the 89th minute when Thompson failed to hold a strike from Johnston and MURPHY was on hand to pocket the rebound from close range.
Wiles, who never stopped working all afternoon, was the final player to be booked late oon and the final action saw Mols predictably involved, Pollard holding his shot as the Yellows, inspired by Mols and the dominance in midfield from captain Williams, deservedly took the three points.
WARRINGTON TOWN: 1 Tony Thompson 2 Josh Seary 3 mitch Duggan 4 Tom Hannigan 5 Evan Gumbs 6 Jay Harris (14 Bohan Dixon 75) 7 Stefan Mols 8 Sean Williams 9 Connor Woods (12 Josh Amis 68) 10 Matty McDonald 11 Eddie Clarke (16 Dec Walker 75) Other subs: 15 Andrew White 17 Teddy Mfuni
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jim Pollard 2 Kallum Mantack 3 Jordan Barnett 4 Mark Lees (15 Akeem Hinds 71) 5 Jamie Sharman 6 Ryan Qualter (17 Ioan Evans 48) 7 John Johnston 8 Brad Abbott (12 Kallan Murphy 46) 9 Bartosz Cybulski 10 Al Byrne 11 Alex Wiles Other subs: 14 Simon Njiara 16 Shaun Tuton
REFEREE: Mark Reeves (Oldham) ATTENDANCE: 627 BEST GLADIATOR: Alex Wiles