Heartache for Matlock Town as Scarborough Athletic reach play-off final

Matlock’s promotion hopes were ended by a totally dominant second-half performance from Scarborough Athletic who deservedly made it through to a home play-off final with Warrington Town on Monday (writes Ian Richardson)

By Mark Duffy
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 9:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 9:58 am
Liam Hughes netted Matlock's late consolation goal.
Liam Hughes netted Matlock's late consolation goal.

The Gladiators had done well in the first half, having been the better side, but after the interval Scarborough turned on the heat in front of a record Flamingo Land Stadium crowd of 2,676.

It took a worldy to separate the two sides though and the crowd had to wait until 74 minutes for a shot to hit the back of the net as Ash Jackson let fly from nearly 30 yards to comprehensively beat the outstanding Joe Young, the shot rocketing into the far top corner. It was a shot that no goalkeeper in the world would have had much chance of stopping.

On the balance of the second half, the Gladiators could have no complaints. A second goal from Luca Colville with seven minutes to doubled the Seadogs’ lead, Matlock’s reply coming from skipper Liam Hughes deep into injury time.

The Gladiators were again guilty of not taking their chances when on top.

An early shot wide from Alex Wiles when he should have hit the target. It was a great opportunity which, if taken, would have changed the complexion of the game and quietened the home support.

Most of the opening exchanges were in the Scarborough half but Matlock also needed the excellence of Ryan Qualter to block Colville’s 12th minute drive and four minutes later Young pulled off a cracking save to tip a Lewis Maloney free-kick on to the junction of bar and post on 16 minutes, then Hughes headed goalwards from a fine cross from Qualter, the ball being hacked off the line.

Soon afterwards, Callum Chippendale, who along with Reece Kendall were booked for first-half trips, headed directly at keeper Ryan Whitley.

The second-half saw Matlock struggle. Jesurun Uchegbulam, whose pace was a big threat earlier, did not receive the required service.

Scarborough grabbed the initiative attacking their favoured Shed End where their fans were packed. Young denied Moloney from range then Colville was just wide, but something had to give and it did in style through Jackson’s venomous blast.

The visitors’ claims for a penalty fell on deaf ears when Kieran Weledji got his hand in the way of Reece Kendall’s header but Matlock were breached again when Colville cutely back heeled a low cross from the left. Matlock’s task looked hopeless.

They might have cut the deficit on 86 minutes, Will Thornton making a heroic block from Alex Byrne’s low shot, Benito Lowe then ballooning the rebound unceremoniously over the bar.

Four minutes into six added on at the end, Hughes headed in from a couple of yards after Ross Hannah’s cross from the left had been helped on, but it proved too little, too late.

Scarborough’s second-half display was the best against Matlock all season. Then Town ran out of legs and ideas but can still reflect on a good campaign.

Their 200 fans showed their appreciation despite their obvious disappointment.