Toothless Matlock Town fail to take their chances against Radcliffe

Matlock failed to fully capitalise on their match in hand which ended in yet another blank scoresheet against lowly Radcliffe at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night (writes Ian Richardson)

By Mark Duffy
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 9:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 1:56 pm

It was therefore another 90 minutes of frustration for their boss Paul Phillips and most in the 444 crowd who knew realistically the Gladiators needed a win to have any chance of staying in title contention.

It was a second successive goalless draw for Matlock, following the good point gained at Scarborough on Saturday.

Liam Hughes was reinstated to the team as skipper after suspension, coming in for Osebi Abadaki who was injured late on at Scarborough for the only change in the starting line-up. Radcliffe included Jack Hindle, recently signed from Matlock and another ex-Gladiator, John Pritchard.

Jesurun Uchegbulam saw a great chance go begging in the second-half for Matlock.

The early signs were encouraging from Matlock, Hughes seeing two early chances go close and Callum Chippendale firing wide from 25 yards.

Centre back Joe Cummings ran from deep to fiercely blast over the bar from 30 yards as Radcliffe started to find their feet, before Matlock went desperately close to a 27th minute opener, Danny Greenfield’s shot speeding through a crowded penalty box to strike another Matlock player before it was diverted off the line by a relieved Radcliffe defender.

Hughes then tried his luck from 20 yards but goalkeeper Jack McIntyre was suitably positioned to hold the shot

This was quickly followed by Jesurun Uchegbulam latching on to a fine crossfield pass by Al Byrne to cut in from the left only to shoot directly at McIntyre.

Radcliffe had the ball in the net through Hindle who was clearly offside before Matlock applied more pressure in the dying embers of the first-half, winning a couple of corners and Reece Kendall having a shot charged down.

In a slow start to the second period it took until the 60th minute for either side to threaten. Uchegbulam produced a poor touch just when it mattered, being robbed and then being booked for fouling Tom Miller. Then Chippendale headed over the bar from a Byrne centre.

A blocked Hughes strike fell to Chippendale who turned neatly only for a Radcliffe defender to get in a telling deflection and concede a corner from which Ioan Evans’ header was hacked clear inches ahead of the goal-line.

Uchegbulam skied an effort too high as groans of disappointment filled the air, Radcliffe replying with the talented Callum Gribbin forcing Joe Young into his only serious save of the contest.

Matlock ought to have broken the deadlock with 12 minutes remaining. A long kick from Young beat the Radcliffe defence to leave Uchegbulam in a one-on-one with McIntyre who stood up firmly to block the shot, the loose ball falling to substitute Ross Hannah with a visiting defender again making a telling block.

Radcliffe now sensed one point just might become three, going close with shots from Luka Navarro and Callum Gribbin, most of the three minutes of stoppage time being played in the Matlock half as Radcliffe sensibly retained possession to earn their point.