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REPORT: Defeat for new Gladiators boss


There was an optimistic feel around Causeway Lane on match day as the Matlock faithful look forward to a new era under Dave Frecklington, who himself wasn't present on the day, leaving his assistants to take control.


Table-toppers South Shields came to Matlock one point clear at the top of the league. Taylor led Matlock out of the tunnel due to Shuan Harrad missing with an injury.


The first action came from a South Shield attack, as a powerful shot from the left hand side was parried away by Matlock 'keeper Walton in the six-yard box and eventually cleared.


The first ten minutes was mainly contested in the midfield and neither side could really get a foot on the ball, but eventually Matlock's first chance came from the right side, with a cross whipped onto Craig Westcarr's head but he couldn't find the target.


Shortly after, South Shields midfielder Briggs connected with a rebounded volley from a corner but it dipped just over the bar.


18 minutes in, Matlock skipper Taylor received the first yellow card after a miss times slide tackle.


On 33 minutes, Craig Westcarr won the Gladiators a free-kick in a dangerous area. New signing Tom Davie delivered a cross into the box but it was cleared easily, although it eventually fell back to Davie on the edge of the box, who hit it first time but dragged it just wide.


38 minutes into the first half, a South Shield cross fell at the back post to Finningham, who brought it down and then attempted a half-volley but scuffed it wide.


In the 42nd minute South Shields' Foley fired a shot straight at Walton which he couldn't keep hold of, and South Shields' Cogdon tapped home from a yard out.


Just a minute later, a South Shield midfielder lofted a a ball over the Matlock defence which Gillies brought down and slotted into the bottom right corner in front of the South Shield fans.


After the two quick successive goals, Matlock's past performances crept in and their heads began to drop, letting South Shields take control the game.


Following the break, Matlock was the fist team out, looking eager to get back on track, but South Shields carried on their momentum as they drove forward without any pressure but they dragged their first chance well wide.


With 58 minutes gone, South Shields' Gillies fired a ball across the box which was directed on goal by Finnigan and parried by Walton, but it wasn't cleared and Foley scored another tap in.


On 71 minutes, Matlock's skipper Taylor received a pass from a corner which he controlled and then fired his effort wide.


Going into the final 15 minutes, South Shields tried to take the pace out of the game, although they picked the ball up in Matlock's half and attempted a long range shot only for Walton to pull off a terrific save and push the ball over the bar.


South Shields continued to dominate the game and Gillies delivered a floating cross towards the Matlock six-yard box which was saved, but it wasn't cleared and Matlock's Green had to clear the ball off the line.

 

Post-Match Verdict: A promising display despite defeat


Matlock fans were grateful to see some fight and desire from their players and although the new era began in defeat, it will take time for the new players and staff to settle in and figure out a game plan for the future.


The season-high attendance of 530 clapped the players off and fans should look forward to the rest of the season after a promising performance against the table-toppers.

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