Gladiators match report: Whitby Town 1 Matlock Town 0

More points went astray for Matlock again simply because they could not finish chances off.

Monday, 30th December 2013, 8:51 am
Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager

Whitby, who rose to the heady heights of fifth with this win, had fewer opportunities but made one count.

That was in the 34th minute and it resulted from a defensive mistake by Matlock whose central defenders were caught out by a long punt upfield from goalkeeper Shane Bland forcing Micky Harcourt to concede a corner. From the flag kick on the right, the Seasiders top scorer GRAEME ARMSTRONG headed in the ball scrambling across the goal line.

So again Matlock only have themselves to blame for not coming home with the bacon.

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They ought to have taken the initiative early on as Shaun Tuton’s header fell wide. But the hosts went closer as a shot from midfielder Tom Portas came back off the post to the Whitby number seven who somehow put the rebound wide with the goal gaping.

Lavell White’s shot was cleared off the line before efforts fro both Corey Gregory and Tuton were blocked. From Tuton’s shot, home skipper Mark Robinson deflected Micky Harcourt’s follow up for a corner from which David Haggerty nodded wide.

White then snatched at a good 30th minute chance to blaze over the bar and after Armstrong’s deciding goal, Daryl Thomas, partnering Tuton in attack with top scorer Danny Holland under suspension, sliced badly wide from eight yards.

Then in an amazing three minutes up to the interval, Haggerty again headed wide, Liam Nedham delayed instead of shooting, Tuton drove inches wide and Thomas volleyed goal wards, the last attempt being bravely blocked by home defender Lee Bullock to prevent an almost certain goal.

Bullock’s intervention was typical of Whitby throughout as they clung on to keep a clean sheet.

After the break the heat was less intensive on the home goal although Tuton pulled a shot yards wide with Thomas alongside him in support.

Bland, more by luck than judgement, blocked a Gregory header but later on made a brilliant save to keep out an instinctive, stinging volley from Thomas, acrobatically tipping the ball over the frame of the goal as it arrowed towards the roof of his net.

Whitby’s enthusiasm to keep their lead boiled over on 79 minutes with a terrible stomach high challenge by Armstrong on Harcourt, which should have seen him red carded than receive just a yellow.

But it was the Seasiders who claimed maximum points for the fifth game in a row and now the play offs seem miles away for Matlock.

It was an all too familiar tale and an altogether too familiar feeling for Matlock followers when the final whistle sounded.

WHITBY TOWN: 1 Shane Bland 2 Ibrahim Hassan 3 Mark Robinson 4 Lee Bullock 5 Kevin Burgess 6 David McTiernan, 7 Tom Portas 8 Lee Mason 14 Nathan Mulligan 73) 9 Graeme Armstrong ( 15 Benn Sullivan 84) 10 Steven Snaith (12 Craig Farrell 68) 11 Adam Rundle. Other subs: 15 Darren Williams 17 Dave Campbell.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 James Ashmore 4 Martin Foster 5 David Haggerty 6 Oscar Radford 7 Liam Needham 8 Corey Gregory (12 Cecil Nyoni 73) 9 Shaun Tuton 10 Daryl Thomas 11 Lavell White (14 Joe Leesley 68). Other subs: 15 Matty Wilkinson 16 James Travis 17 Matty Leese.

REFEREE: D Markham (Washington, Tyne and Wear).