An early goal is enough to sink the Gladiators

Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager
Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager
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Whitby Town 1

Matlock Town 0

Matlock soon came back down to earth after their midweek heroics against Mansfield in the freezing temperatures of Whitby’s heavy Turnbull Ground on Saturday.

They found themselves trailing to an opportunist 35-yard effort from Craig Farrell inside the opening minute which turned out to be the winner.

Their overall display had the look of after the Lord Mayor’s Show about it.

They simply never got going, especially in the first half although an improved second half performance could have earned them a point as the Seasiders had goalkeeper Nick Liversedge to thank for preserving their slender advantage.

Matlock left skipper James Lukic back in the East Midlands after he collected a knock in the Mansfield win, Oscar Radford taking his place.

Gareth Davies moved to full back as Micky Harcourt was carrying a slight hamstring strain and was one booking away from missing the big FA Trophy game on December 15. Glyn Cotton joined Harcourt on the substitutes bench,again he was carrying a slight knock. Martin Foster was recalled as skipper and Anthony Griffiths Junior started in what looked an offensive line up.

The early shock came as spectators were still entering the ground, the Gladiators being caught out when a pass became stuck in the mud and Farrell seized the opportunity, lifting the ball over Jon Kennedy from fully 35 yards.

James Ashmore drove at home goalkeeper Nick Liversedge on three minutes but that early goal had given Whitby just the boost they required.

Kennedy held a 25-yard strike from Graeme Armstrong before Farrell broke down the right but the move broke down before it could reach the waiting Nathan Mulligan. Then Kennedy pulled off a flying save from a well struck Shane Henry shot.

Massiah McDonald had the ball in the net but referee Edwards had spotted a foul before the Seasiders drove forward again and Kennedy had to dive at full back Ibby Hassan’s feet, Hassan having burst forward in determined fashion.

Henry fired wide after a Whitby free kick was only partially cleared, the hosts deserving their half time lead.

The Gladiators improved in the second half and might have been level four minutes after the restart but Liversedge denied Bradley Grayson with an excellent stop which had the Matlock number seven looking to the heavens in frustration.

Lewis McMahon’s free kick fro a central position 22 yards out was a disappointment as he screwed his shot a couple of yards wide. Whitby though came closer when Mulligan’s free kick struck the bar.

The introduction of Cotton made Matlock more of a threat and Liversedge again kept the hosts in front, with a great block from McMahon.

Whitby were reduced to ten men on 76 minutes when midfielder Dave McTiernan’s tackle on Ashmore broughthim a second yellow and subsequent red card.

But Whitby were proving to be stubborn opponents and the nearest the visitors came to an equaliser after that was when Whitby captain Mark Robinson booted a McDonald effort off the line with nine minutes remaining.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1. Jon Kennedy 2 Gareth Davies (16 Will Dennis 85) 3 Phil Roe 4 Martin Foster (12 Glyn Cotton 67),5 Adam Yates 6 Oscar Radford 7 Brad Grayson (14 Joe Leesley 62) 8 James Ashmore 9 Massiah McDonald 10 Lewis McMahon 11 Anthony Griffiths-Junior Sub not used: 15 Micky Harcourt

REFEREE: M Edwards (Gateshead) ATTENDANCE: 237 STAR MAN: James Ashmore