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HONOURS EVEN AS SEADOGS AND GLADIATORS CANCEL EACH OTHER OUT


The deadlock couldn't be broken in Saturday's Northern Premier League Premier Division top four encounter between Scarborough Athletic and Matlock Town at The Flamingo Land Stadium.

Both sides cancelled each other out in a hard-fought game where the defences reigned supreme and a 0-0 draw was a fair result.

The first half was a keenly contested affair that was dominated by half-chances that were constantly quashed by some sound defending from both sides. After only three minutes on his second debut for the club, Osebi Abadaki had a glimmer of goal when his shot from 15 yards out was deflected for a corner. In the tenth minute, the Seadogs had their first chance of any kind when Luca Colville fired the ball over the bar from just outside the penalty area. Five minutes later, Scarborough struggled to clear a corner from Alex Byrne which allowed Callum Chippendale the opportunity to turn his body as quickly as he could to hammer the ball inside a crowded penalty area. It was a good attempt but Scarborough's defence were made of stern stuff and blocked the ball to concede another corner. Another important intervention was made to deny Jesurun Uchegbulam in similar fashion from the edge of the penalty area just a few minutes later.

After 26 minutes played, Matlock put the ball in the back of the net when Abadaki's shot was turned home by Ryan Qualter from close range but the centre-half was ruled offside. Matlock's best opportunity of the first half arrived in the 39th minute. Some excellent work from Uchegbulam on the by-line had the Seadogs defence on the ropes. His pass found Abadaki from 12 yards out and he teed up the oncoming Alex Byrne but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Ryan Whitley.






Ashley Jackson fired a warning shot to Matlock early on in the second half. Just three minutes after the re-start, the full-back's 20 yard effort had goalkeeper Joe Young worried for a second as the ball flashed narrowly wide of the post.

The game then developed into an intense midfield battle until it finally opened up a little more for the final quarter of the match as both teams played their last roll of the dice.

On a quick breakaway, Abadaki managed to cut inside a Seadogs defender inside the penalty area and fired the ball for glory but Whitley made a decent save to palm the ball away and concede a corner. Four minutes later, Uchegbulam burst down the left wing and into the centre but his attempt lacked conviction and Whitley was able to make a comfortable save.

With ten minutes remaining, Scarborough almost took the lead when a fierce effort was excellently blocked by the immense Qualter and the ball ballooned over the bar.

The deadlock simply couldn't be broken and as the referee blew for the final whistle, the race for promotion only intensified further. Despite only one win in their last ten games, Matlock Town remain in third position in the league table but are well aware that a win is needed as soon as possible to alleviate concerns that they could miss out on a top five finish and fail to qualify for the play-offs.

Matlock Town team: Young, Yates, Kendall, Evans, Qualter, Lees, Byrne (c), Chippendale, Abadaki (Hannah 87), Greenfield (Sharman 90), Uchegbulam. Unused subs: Daly, Coppin, Hawkridge.

Attendance: 1,602

Paul Phillips Quotes:

"I thought we were the better team. I thought we got on the front foot enough times. We had some chances in the first half on the break. We just didn't have that clinical finish that we needed. I thought we looked organised, we looked strong and we looked like our usual selves. Credit to the lads - we had four or five out today that would have normally played. I thought Danny Greenfield did really well as did Osi Abadaki. The only downfall, again, is scoring those goals. We've got to address that. I thought it was a good performance at a place like this which had a big crowd. I thought we deserved more than a point."

"We approached this game to win it. This is not the Matlock of old, we go everywhere to try and put our stamp on the game. We haven't done that in previous weeks and we've not been the same team - but we tweaked the shape a little bit today and I thought it worked...it looked like our old selves again."

"I thought we defended from the front. We defended really, really well today. Chippendale and Lees in front of the defence were fantastic today. They worked really, really hard. Qualter, Evans and Kendall were outstanding again as they are week in, week out. Yatesy doesn't look like time has caught up with him! Still playing like he's 23 again. We defended from the front and that was the difference from last week at Mickleover. In that game, we let them come at us too easily and we got picked off. Today, we did the right things in the right areas. If we'd been a bit more selfish up front, we could have taken all three points."

"Liam Hughes is back for Tuesday night. We'll see where Osi Abadaki is following his injury he picked up at the end of today - I thought he played really well today. Alex Wiles will be out for a weeks, Liam King is currently out. Reece Webb-Foster had to go for a scan the other day, so we're waiting for the results on that but I don't think that will be a short-term one. We needed to bring in the amount of players that we did around the end of the transfer window...Terry Hawkridge was on the bench today, he would have started but he got a whack in the game last week. Luke Daly's not been too well, so that's another player that could be playing but we've had a bit of bad luck with. So we'll see where we are on Tuesday. Hopefully, Osi is alright. When everyone's fit, it's a decent squad to try and get into."

"We go into the Radcliffe game as favourites. We've got to stamp our authority on the game. We've got to make sure we take our chances. We've got to be in the right mindset and hopefully we'll take all three points."

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