Lee Beevers own goal costs Matlock Town at Witton Albion
A Lee Beevers own goal condemned Matlock Town to a 1-0 defeat at Witton Albion.
It was a third successive defeat and a third game without scoring while Matlock’s record of not keeping a clean sheet stretched to 15 league and cup matches.
The goal arrived six minutes into the second half, with Matlock having survived the worst of the weather conditions.
Witton had looked dangerous towards the end of that first half minutes, with skipper Rob Hopley clattering a header against the bar in the 41st minute.
That was the closest either side came before the interval in a game of few clear cut opportunities.
For Matlock, debutant Greg Tempest was unfortunate not to celebrate with a 13th minute goal from a neatly constructed attack.
Ashton Hall produced a magnificent clearing 23rd minute challenge to deny Hopley.
Ross Durrant had also kept out a Will Jones header from Danny McKenna’s centre.
Luke Hinsley’s cross from the right was headed powerfully and narrowly wide by Craig Westcarr within three minutes of the restart.
Disaster then struck when Beevers knocked a nothing ball from Albion past Durrant.
Tempest would soon lift his 20 yarder a foot too high when a corner eventually reached him and Josh Wardle bravely blocked a Michael Hollingsworth shot from Craig Westcarr’s cross to the back stick.
Witton won a free-kick taken by Danny McKenna twenty five yards out which Durrant smuggled aside, before the Gladiators were unlucky twice in quick succession as defender River Humphries almost heroically cleared Westcarr’s header off the line.
Yates, on the follow up, saw his shot somehow deflected over by an Albion defender who knew virtually nothing about it.
Witton hung on to their slender lead with Luke Hinsley hurrying his finish at the far post when he had more time to bring a left wing cross from King under control.
For the second successive week, it was an opportunity lost to challenge the other play-off chasing teams as Matlock again failed to produce the goods.
WITTON ALBION: 1 Greg Hall 2 Anthony Gardner 3 Matty Devine 4 Josh Wardle 5 River Humphries 6 Will Booth 7 Danny McKenna 8 Tom Owens 9 Rob Hopley 10 Will Jones 11 James Foley Subs (not used) 12 Jordan Cobley 14 Cesaire Lingouba 15 James Yates
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Ross Durrant 2 Lee Beevers 3 Bradley Beatson 4 Michael Hollingsworth (14 Michael Williams 68) 5 Ashton Hall (12 Dwayne Wiley 46) 6 Adam Yates 7 Luke Hinsley 8 Greg Tempest 9 Craig Westcarr (15 Jamie Jackson 85) 10 Marcus Marshall 11 Craig King Other subs: 16 Terry Fleming 17 Jordan Pierrepont
REFEREE: Daniel Bruce (Wallasey).
BEST GLADIATOR: Greg Tempest.