Matlock Town defeated in final away game of the season

Despite a much improved performance, Matlock’s final away game ended in the same way as many of their others as they slipped to yet another defeat.
Matlock Town's poor season were beaten in their final away game of the season.Matlock Town's poor season were beaten in their final away game of the season.
Matlock Town's poor season were beaten in their final away game of the season.

Since winning at Atherton on January 13, the Gladiators have suffered seven successive away losses, six of them by the odd goal.

So nobody gave them much of a chance at a Hyde side playing their final match of the season needing a victory to have any slim chance of making the end of season play-offs. In reality Matlock probably deserved a point, a poor fifteen minute spell in the second half costing them dear, plus a controversial refereeing decision for the second Hyde goal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With Mark Atkins having a pre arranged commitment prior to him being taken on, Adam Yates ran things from the touchline so the central defensive partnership was Ioan Evans and George Wilkinson with Kornell McDonald slotting in at right back. The midfield had Connor Dimaio and Nathan Whitehead starting, injury ruling out John Johnston. Scott Boden was named on the bench alongside Tavonga Kuleya as Nat Crofts was given his opportunity on the left flank.

As expected Hyde began strongly and Saul Deeney was forced into a couple of excellent saves early on. A fine through pass from Sam Fielding released Antoine Makoli with Deeney blocking the winger’s powerful drive from six yards. Then Lewis Alessandra set up Matthew Fearnley but Deeney was again alert to push away the number nine’s shot.

Matlock responded as Liam Hardy released Joe West whose effort was blocked for a corner from which George Wilkinson’s header was knocked off the line. From the second corner another Wilkinson header was claimed by goalkeeper Jordan Eastham.

In an open game in which Hyde predictably had the lion’s share of the possession, Fearnley shot too high after Crofts had given up possession far too easily and Alessandra also cleared the bar from the edge of the box. Olly Clark did his best to find Hardy but the Gladiators striker was crowded out. Just before the half time whistle Dimaio’s well struck shot whistled narrowly wide, Matlock could be pleased with their performance thus far.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There was an early second half opportunity for Hyde with Jack Redshaw seeing his shot comfortably saved by Deeney. Crofts would then have the ball in the net for the visitors but the offside flag had been raised immediately.

Then just before the hour mark the deadline was broken as Makoli broke free down the left ,Wilkinson did well to clear off the line but the ball broke for FEARNLEY to have an easy finish. Hyde looked to extend their lead as Fearnley and Redshaw had shots held by Deeney but they did double their lead on 69 minutes.

With the ball deep in Hyde territory and appearing to be drifting out for a Matlock throw a Hyde ball boy stopped the ball while in play. Referee Ashley Royston amazed all by awarding a drop ball to Hyde and with Matlock still contemplating the “wrong” decision, the hosts took full advantage and FEARNLEY hit an unstoppable fierce drive from eighteen yards that founds the target off the inside of the post. Matlock deservedly thought they had been on the wrong end of an injustice but they switched off and could have defended the situation much better.

But Town gave themselves hope with HARDY reducing the deficit with ten minutes remaining, finishing clinically when Harry Bunn carelessly gave the ball away.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So now it was game on, Hyde looking nervous knowing they needed the win at all costs.

Matlock came within a lick of paint with five minutes left when Hardy was felled some twenty yards from goal, West’s marvellous free kick crashing against the post with Eastham a spectator.

Substitutes Harry Wood and Andrew Wright both tested Eastham in the dying stages but the Gladiators could not complete the comeback.

It had been a decent effort, in total contrast to the Gainsborough debacle four days earlier. With the rub of the green they could well have returned home with something to show for their efforts but the record books will show another L in the results column in an away game. This needs to be addressed for next season.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.