Matlock Town are held in entertaining stalemate with Scarborough Athletic

Only time will tell whether this is a good point for Matlock in the NPL title race, but what cannot be denied is that this was a cracking game with Scarborough Athletic for a 0-0 scoreline (writes Ian Richardson)

Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 9:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 9:04 am
Ross Hannah saw a late 35-yard effort go close to winning the points for Matlock Town.
Ross Hannah saw a late 35-yard effort go close to winning the points for Matlock Town.

The match could have gone either way as both teams slogged it out before a healthy 723 crowd, the result being fair meaning that Matlock’s lead at the top of the table is now five points, while Scarborough remain in the hunt for a play-off spot in sixth place, having lost just once in their previous eight matches.

Gladiators boss Paul Phillips included new signings Marcus Marshall and Terry Hawkridge in his starting line-up, Callum Chippendale and Liam King dropping to the bench from the team which had won at Witton last weekend.

Ross Hannah and Jesurun Uchegbulam were also named as substitutes in a strong looking Matlock squad. Former Matlock defender Bailey Gooda was in the Scarborough team.

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In a game which was competitive throughout, the first chance of note fell Matlock’s way in the tenth minute, Ioan Evans heading too high from one of a number of corners forced by the Gladiators in the opening exchanges.

Town looked the more dangerous in the opening exchanges with both Marshall and Hawkridge prominent but the Gladiators could not find the killer instinct in the Borough penalty box.

Goalkeeper Joe Young, on his home debut, was forced to advance at pace to deny Brad Plant after a through pass had cut through the home defence, and he recovered brilliantly as he slithered along the slippery surface to emphatically clear his lines.

Al Byrne’s ambitious strike from distance was both high and wide as at this point, Matlock continued to ask most of the questions. They badly needed a goal to make their pressure count.

Liam Hughes nearly surprised Borough custodian Ryan Whitley with a first timer from 20 yards which flashed narrowly wide.

The second-half saw Matlock start well, Reece Kendall and Ryan Qualter both going close from corners, while Borough should have broken the deadlock on 53 minutes when Young did well to block a low strike from Lewis Moloney, only for Plant with just Young to beat to fire wide.

Kendall’s looping header was comfortably grasped by Whitley before at the other end, Wilson’s low shot beat Young’s right hand upright.

Young kept Matlock level with another good stop from Plant then a Hughes header was easily claimed by Whitley.

In stoppage time, sub Ross Hannah came steaming in to rocket in a 35-yarder which, had it gone in, would have brought the house down. Instead a defender’s bootlace saw the shot fizz wide.

It brought Matlock’s winning run to an end at the fifth time of asking but few would argue that Scarborough, a good outfit on the night who had won at both Warrington and Bamber Bridge recently, and beaten Buxton at home seven days earlier, were worthy of a point.