Fry’s late leveller denies Gladiators rare away win

Ian Holmes put Matlock in front on Tuesday night but ultimately it wasn't enough for all three points.
Ian Holmes put Matlock in front on Tuesday night but ultimately it wasn't enough for all three points.
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Evo-Stik League Premier Division

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

North Ferriby United 1

Russell Fry 77

Matlock Town 1

Ian Holmes 21

Matlock Town: Jon Kennedy, Micky Harcourt, Laurence Gaughan, Liam King, Adam Yates, James Lukic, Gareth Davies, Kris Bowler, Ian Holmes, TJ Nightingale (Liam Wilkin 79), Ben Algar

Other subs: Chris Bettney, Lee Featherstone, Craig Nelthorpe, Nick Buxton

Referee: M Griffiths - Doncaster

Attendance: 218

Star Man - TJ Nightingale

Matlock had to settle for a point when they failed to build on a promising first-half showing at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Tuesday night.

Ahead at the interval through Ian Holmes’ 21st minute strike and having created the better opportunities, Matlock sat deeper and deeper as the match progressed and were finally breached in the 77th minute when Russell Fry fired home.

It certainly felt like two points lost and a little like defeat, and Matlock can only blame themselves for letting the hosts back into the game.

Their effort and workrate again could not be faulted and in a businesslike opening, they could have scored twice inside the opening five minutes.

James Lukic outjumped home goalkeeper Steve Wilson as he met Gareth Davies’ free-kick but his header was a fraction too high.

Then Holmes glanced no more than a foot wide from a right-wing corner as his striking partner TJ Nightingale, in for Chris Bettney, led the line with determination and enthusiasm.

Ferriby came more into the game with former Town forward Lee Morris the focal point for many of their attacks.

But the Matlock defence was in a mean mood although it did look a shade uncertain when a firmly driven low centre from Wayne Brooksby bobbled across the Town box and out for a goal kick.

But Matlock struck first blood when the Villagers failed to clear another Davies free-kick from the left. Nightingale and Algar were both in the mix but Holmes netted with a gentle shot which sneaked its way past an unsighted home goalkeeper Steve Wilson.

Jon Kennedy was being well protected by his industrious colleagues who might have been celebrating a two-goal lead on 38 minutes. Nightingale pulled clear down the left and might have had a shot himself, but saw Davies unmarked square on only for the midfielder’s low shot to hit the inside of Wilson’s left hand post before rebounding conveniently into the grateful goalkeeper’s clutches.

The second-half was a scrappy affair and it took a while for any chances to come, and it was left to Holmes to finally create an opportunity on 68 minutes as Laurence Gaughan’s throw released him on the left, his cross cum shot curling beyond the back post.

But Matlock created their own problems by retreating, rather than North Ferriby being the masters.

For their increased possession however, the hosts did not trouble Kennedy until the 76th minute when Brooksby’s shot was turned aside at the near post.

The resulting corner though was fruitful for them and from their one clear opportunity of the game, Fry hooked in the equaliser from 12 yards when for once Matlock could not clear their lines.

Liam Wilkin replaced Nightingale for the final 11 minutes and the substitute’s neat lay off set up King from twenty yards, the shot flashing a couple of feet past the post. At the other end Fry drove handsomely too high after a Morris assist as honours finished even.

A good chance of a second league double and a first away win since early September had fallen by the wayside.