Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Matlock Town suffered a hugely disappointing defeat against Derbyshire rivals Buxton in the Northern Premier Division on Boxing Day.
Goals from Luke Hinsley and Tomas Poole inside the first five minutes gave the Gladiators an absolutely superb start but they paid the price for an awful second half performance.
Dreadful goalkeeping from Grant Shenton allowed Hinsley to bundle the ball home from five yards out after only two minutes. Matlock then doubled their advantage only three minutes later when Poole capitalised on a loose ball in from the left wing and smartly finished from 15 yards out to secure his second goal of the season for the Gladiators. At this point, it appeared to be a question of how many were Matlock going to win by rather than would they win at all.
The first half overall was an absolutely frantic affair with frequent action at both ends of the pitch. In the 18th minute, Alex Brown shot hard from 20 yards out but this was well held by Dan Wallis. In the 21st minute, Poole appeared to have been blatantly brought down inside the area but the referee waved away the strong appeals for a penalty to be given.
The 29th minute was the big turning point in the game. It was at this point that the referee, Anthony Tankard, deemed that he could not continue officiating the game due to what appeared to be a hamstring issue. At this level of football there are no fourth officials so a new assistant referee had to be found from the crowd of 922 watching the game. A person with the necessary qualifications was located but it took some time for the new official to get into his new gear and get started.
Once the game finally got back under way, all of Matlock’s momentum and attacking presence completely vanished and did not return at any point for the remainder of the match. Buxton responded to the long break in play far better than the Gladiators and ended up being worthy winners.
In the 39th minute, just three minutes after play had finally resumed, Buxton found their first goal. A series of blocked shots inside the penalty area resembled a pinball game before Alex Byrne’s effort was the one that finally broke through Matlock’s resistance.
Matlock’s tendency to start second halves poorly continued miserably when Buxton found an equaliser within the very first minute of the second half. Liam Hardy poked home from twelve yards out after the Gladiators failed to deal with a long throw-in from the right wing.
Buxton’s comeback was complete in the 54th minute when former Sheffield United and Chesterfield striker Diego De Girolamo ran onto a superb defence-splitting ball after beating Bailey Gooda for pace and he slotted the ball home easily past an out of position Dan Wallis.
The Gladiators looked strangely subdued throughout the second half and never really looked like getting back into the game. Matlock suffered another huge blow in the second half when Dwayne Wiley had to be substituted in the 68th minute after what looked like a serious hamstring problem.
Matlock’s only real opportunity to get back into the game fell in the 82nd minute when Jordan Sinnott’s excellent free kick from 22-yards out was denied by a superb save from Shenton.
Buxton killed the game off completely in the 87th minute when a lazy pass from Adam Yates and an extremely laboured reaction from Gooda allowed De Girolamo to stroke the ball home for one of the simplest goals you’re ever likely to see and make it 4-2 to cap off a miserable Boxing Day for the Gladiators.
Matlock Town: Wallis, Harris (c), Gordon, Dean, Gooda, Wiley (Yates 68), Poole (Bramall 65), Sinnott, Marshall, Hinsley, Scrivens (Crouz 83).
Unused Substitutes: Chilaka, Tague.
Steve Kittrick's Thoughts
Matlock Town manager Steve Kittrick was furious after the game:
“I think every player ought to come out here and speak to you and give their version because being 2-0 up at this level, there shouldn’t have been any doubt as to who was going to win that game…but I think individual errors has lost us three points today…it was just a comedy of errors, ridiculous.”
Kittrick was then asked what his message was to the team at half time:
“The first and last ten (minutes) in each half wins and loses the game. We were 2-0 up, let’s be nice and solid and keep strong, keep organised and play it in their half and just continue with what you’ve been doing. But if players make errors and make mistakes, it’ll cost you goals at this level and that’s what’s happened today. I don’t think any of the goals have been of constructive making, I just think it’s been our mistakes.”
Matlock Town’s manager was then asked about Dwayne Wiley’s injury that forced him to be substituted and also about the return of Sam Scrivens:
“It’s his hamstring, and it’s a massive, massive miss. He’s a good player, he’s been doing really, really well but he could be gone for two weeks, five weeks maybe ten weeks, we don’t know.
“I thought he (Scrivens) did really well when he came in last time, I thought he fitted in to what we wanted. He went back to Guiseley and hasn’t had much game time. We knew Buxton had come in for him and so we did and the offer was accepted and we got the lad here and I don’t think he did anything wrong today.”
Kittrick summarised his thoughts on the game and looked ahead to the next match with the following:
“It’s just disappointing…I’m gobsmacked how we just gave mistakes…it’s just ridiculous, that’s why we’ve been so long in the changing rooms because they’ve got to be honest with each other and we’ve got to learn to work hard for each other when that goal against goes in.
“It’s massive for us to get back on track. We need to get some points, we don’t want to end up getting dragged into something where we don’t want to be because we’re too good a side to be doing that.”