Matlock Town not at the races during Barwell defeat

Matlock Town v Barwell (green), Danny Holland
Matlock Town v Barwell (green), Danny Holland
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Matlock Town were simply not at the races during much of this mid -table clash against Barwell as they were beaten 3-1.

The Gladiators never recovered from going two goals behind in 14 minutes, both as a result of sloppy defending, a topic highlighted all too often by manager Mark Hume throughout the campaign.

Initially Matlock had started brightly with the pace of Niall McManus on the right flank causing the Barwell defence problems.

But that early optimism evaporated when the Canaries struck twice in four minutes and, from the Matlock viewpoint, both could and probably should have been avoided.

Alex Tomkinson was left free towards the back post to volley in a cross from Jamie Towers in the 10th minute and it was Towers who increased Matlock’s pain when he was allowed a free central run to slip a calm finish past the cruelly exposed George Willis.

It might have been worse had Willis not superbly kept out a 17th minute Tomkinson shot.

All Matlock had to offer during this horrible spell was a free-kick by Purkiss, which was comfortably gathered by goalkeeper Liam Castle.

At least Matlock established a foothold on the game as Barwell’s chances dried up but Matlock could not create anything of note either.

A faulty back pass from Declan Towers passed inches wide of the post, but Town were given a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.

It came from an unlikely source as Liam Needham squeezed a low drive from the edge of the box past the unsighted Castle.

It was only Needham’s second Matlock goal in his 107th appearance and his first on home turf.

The wind calmed down somewhat after the interval when it was expected that Matlock would come out with all guns blazing to stage a dramatic recovery.

That never materialised and Castle had a relatively easy time in the Barwell goal.

Half -hearted penalty appeals were turned down almost immediately when Purkiss went down in the box but it was Barwell who came closest to the next goal when Tomkinson’s shot shaved the post.

A promising move ended with Declan Towers heading a Cribley cross away for the first of two unproductive corners before a long Willis punt was helped on by McManus who could not then finish off the move.

But Matlock did not seriously threaten the Barwell back line often enough to lift spirits on the terraces and it was the visitors who sealed the victory with a stoppage time penalty through Anthony Carney.

MATLOCK TOWN: George Willis, Micky Harcourt, Ben Algar, Liam Gaughan (Alex Peterson 62), Adam Yates, Craig Nelthorpe (Nicky Travis 56), Ted Cribley, Liam Needham, Joel Purkiss, Danny Holland (Jack Siddall 66), Niall McManus. Subs not used: Scott Maxfield, Ryan Pugh.

BARWELL: Liam Castle, Scott Lower, Isaac Cooper, Liam Kay, Declan Towers, Richard Lavery, Alex Tomkinson (Callum Woodward 89), Nigel Julian, Jamie Towers, Owen Story (Brad Hickey 78), Anthony Carney, Subs not used: Edward Nisevic, Cameron Powell, Blaize Hunter.

REFEREE: Ian Johnston (Leeds).

ATTENDANCE: 246.

BEST GLADIATOR: Niall McManus.