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TOO MANY ERRORS COST MATLOCK DEARLY IN DEFEAT TO WHITBY


A poor performance cost Matlock Town dearly on Saturday afternoon as they lost 3-2 at home to Whitby Town in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Goals from Jerome Greaves and substitute Jesurun Uchegbulam were not enough to secure any points on the board for the Derbyshire outfit and the defeat means that their lead at the top of the league has been cut down to two points following South Shields's draw away at Atherton Collieries.

Matlock Town simply never got going in this game and while the Seasiders were certainly the better team on the day, they were practically handed early Christmas presents by the Gladiators for all three of their goals at The Proctor Cars Stadium.

The Seasiders made the perfect start to the match when they took the lead after just three minutes. Soni Fergus drilled the ball home for Whitby from 15 yards out following a blocked headed effort from former Gladiator player Jacob Hazel. It wasn't great defending from the Gladiators who should have been able to have dealt with the situation and cleared the ball away. Compared to the second and third goals conceded though, the errors made here in the third minute were nowhere near as bad.

In the 26th minute, Whitby could barely believe their luck as they were gift-wrapped a goal to double their advantage. A lazy pass from Alex Byrne inadvertently put Whitby striker Bradley Fewster clean through on goal and he had no problem in slotting the ball confidently past Shaun Rowley and into the back of the net. In a sign of how much Matlock were not at the races, Liam King was taken off straight after the second goal and was replaced by Alex Wiles in a straight swap in the centre of midfield.

Despite a poor first 45 minutes, Jerome Greaves appeared to give the Gladiators a lifeline with his third goal of the season for Matlock. Reece Kendall initially saw his header from close range saved smartly by Shane Bland. From the resulting cross from the right wing by Alex Byrne, Greaves headed the ball from ten yards out and found the back of the net.




Frustratingly for the Gladiators, their second half performance was just as limp as the first and, if anything, Whitby played better after the interval.

One of the few positives for the Gladiators though was the performance of first half substitute Alex Wiles. The former Gainsborough Trinity player almost bagged his first goal of the season ten minutes into the second half. His effort from around 15 yards out following a loose ball in the area was saved and held onto well by Shane Bland.

Despite this chance of an equaliser, Whitby continued to press well and the Gladiators defence always seemed to be under a lot of pressure. In the 59th minute, Shaun Rowley was called into action as he made a good save to tip the ball around the post following a shot from inside the penalty area by Harry Green.

Five minutes later, Whitby really should have regained their two goal margin after some more concerning defending. Jamie Sharman struggled to control a long ball that arrived into the penalty area. His hesitancy allowed Jacob Hazel to gather the ball and he should have done a lot better with his close range effort as his shot was somehow blazed over the bar.

Matlock shot themselves in the foot yet again with 20 minutes to go and this allowed the Seasiders to go 3-1 up. A woeful pass from Rowley on the edge of his own penalty area found only Priestley Griffiths who then simply stroked the ball home from 25 yards out into an unguarded net. It was a really poor goal for Matlock to concede and it looked like the game was surely over.

Out of nowhere, the Gladiators managed to pull a goal back in the 84th minute thanks to a lovely lobbed finish from Jesurun Uchegbulam who was introduced onto the pitch midway through the second half. Following a nice threaded ball, Uchegbulam suddenly found himself with only the keeper to beat. After he waited for the ball to bounce on the turf, the Nigerian superbly lobbed the ball right over the oncoming keeper and found the back of the net to put Matlock back to within a goal again.

Despite that glimmer of hope, the Gladiators could not find a last-gasp equaliser and it was the Seasiders who claimed an excellent 3-2 win away from home to take all three points.

Matlock Town team: Rowley, Sharman, Kendall, Evans, Qualter, Lees (C King 81), Byrne (c), Sargent, Greaves (Uchegbulam 68), Cooke, L King (Wiles 27). Unused subs: Coppin, F Phillips.

Attendance: 753

Paul Phillips Quotes:

"From start to finish, we were rubbish. Nowhere near where we should be. We started off sloppy, we finished off sloppy and in the middle we were sloppy. It's not acceptable. We've set high standards and we fell way behind that today. Whitby were the better team. They won the battles. We gave them three absolutely horrendous goals. Realistically, everything that we've done well to put us in this position this season, we just reversed today. We can't keep doing that. It's the same players that are making the same mistakes in the same areas. We've got to address that. I won't stand still. The football club won't stand still. Certain players we have won't stand still. But there's other players - who have had numerous chances - who are not showing any improvement...all in all, we got beat by the better team on the day."

"There's a lot of people in that dressing room that like to talk the talk but not walk the walk. I'm not going to give out their names because that's not the way we work. What's said in the dressing room, stays in the dressing room. People have got to take constructive criticism the way they should take it. We're trying to guide these players - we've got a lot of young players in there. These players are still learning their trade. But just because we're top of the league doesn't mean that they're where they should be in terms of what we want to do. They're still learning and if they carry on learning, we'll have a lot of good players but at this moment in time, there's certain individuals who keep making the same mistakes in the same areas and we got punished today. The back three got exposed way too easily today. The midfield didn't win the battles. The front two were okay, but didn't threaten and didn't do what we were asking them to do. When all that happens, you don't earn the right to win a football game."

"Whitby were the better team today...our mentality was wrong and that falls on me. We didn't start well enough. You can do everything you want as a manager and get things set up exactly how you want before the game, but when you give them the goals that we gave away today - you can't win football games like that. We gave them three absolutely horrendous goals and that's not in our make up. All in all, we just lost too many battles across the pitch."

"I'd have loved nothing more than to have a league game now on Tuesday night. But we've got to just try and put this game to bed. It's the FA Trophy this coming Saturday, so we've got two weeks to dwell on this result in regards to the league. We've just got to pick ourselves up. It was a bad day at the office and we can't keep making the same naive mistakes if we're going to get out of this league. The Rushall game will take care of itself. That will be a different kind of game. We've had them watched today, we'll do our homework like we always do. We need to try and redeem ourselves."

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