REPORT: Losing run ends as Matlock inch back into play-off position

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

Matlock Town drew 1-1 with Atherton Collieries at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night to move up into fifth position in the league and back into the play-off zone.

Marcus Marshall bagged his fifth goal of the season to give the Gladiators an early lead but Tom Bentham converted a penalty for the Colls midway through the first half to share the spoils.

A pitch inspection was carried out at 3:30 p.m. due to the torrential rain that had been falling all day but the ground staff did a superb job to ensure the pitch managed to withhold everything nature had to throw at it.

The Gladiators made a fantastic start in testing conditions as in-form Marcus Marshall capitalised on a defensive error and coolly placed the ball to the keeper’s right and into the back of the net from around ten yards out.

Debutant Bailey Gooda, formed a makeshift central defence partnership with the impressive Dwayne Wiley. He almost made the perfect start to his time with the Gladiators when his header from a tenth minute corner flashed just over the bar.

Atherton’s first real attack led to their equaliser. Dan Bramall found himself guilty of a needless trip of a Colls player inside the area and Matlock conceded a penalty in the 23rd minute. Jon Stewart got a hand to Tom Bentham’s well-struck penalty but it wasn’t enough to prevent an equaliser.

It was one way traffic for the rest of the first half as Matlock battled to get back into the lead. In the 35th minute, Piteu Crouz showed how dangerous he is yet again from a free kick position, when his set-piece effort from 25 yards out clipped the post.

In the 42nd minute, Piteu Crouz found himself with space from around 20 yards out and his speculative shot cannoned back off the other post this time. The ball rebounded back to Crouz who struck again from the same range only for Oliver Byrne to make a smart save shortly before the half-time whistle.

The second half was a very scrappy affair where both teams cancelled each other out. Matlock paid the price for not being clinical enough up front and lost their rhythm as the game went on. Atherton started the half with more urgency than the first and applied decent amounts of pressure but their attacks often broke down fairly easily and with twenty minutes remaining it was clear that the Colls were settling for a point as the game petered out.

In the 58th minute, Piteu Crouz had yet another effort but his shot lacked composure and he dragged his effort wide from 15 yards out when he should have done better. The Gladiators were almost completely gifted a second goal in comical circumstances when defender Clive Smith almost passed the ball into his own net. Goalkeeper Oliver Byrne chased the ball down just in time and booted the ball off the line.

In the 84th minute of the match, Dan Bramall received a straight red card after retaliating and kicking out at the Colls player who cynically fouled him while he was on a surging run through the middle of the pitch. Bramall will now miss Matlock’s next three games starting with Saturday’s away trip to Whitby Town.

Matlock Town: Stewart, Yates (c), Gordon, Rea, Gooda, Wiley, Bramall, Harris, Marshall, Wright (Hinsley 77), Crouz. Unused subs: Sinnott, Lacey, Williamson, Dean.

Attendance: 276

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