Gladiators punished for errors as late goal crucial in another defeat

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Two errors cost Matlock dearly as they slipped to a fifth successive league and cup defeat in a 2-1 home loss to Whitby Town.

A goalkeeping mistake was at the heart of the Seasiders’ opener before, with just two minutes left, Dwayne Wiley misread the bounce of the ball midway inside his own half, leaving a clear route forward for Michael Roberts to net.

That came after Luis Rose had deservedly levelled for Matlock, who looked the more likely to go on and collect the three points.

The hosts gave a debut to attacking midfielder Niall Flint, brought in from Sutton Coldfield Town, who replaced Zeyn Hakeem in an otherwise unchanged line up from the team unluckily beaten at Coalville in midweek.

Rose was pushed forward to partner Shaun Harrad in attack and he had the first chance on 12 minutes when he latched on to a poor clearance to fire goalwards, but his shot was parried by keeper Shane Bland.

In a start of precious few chances, Harrad was unfortunate not to find the net on 21 minutes. Joe Doyle- Charles was fouled 25 yards out and Harrad’s beautifully-struck free kick thudded off the bar with Bland a spectator.

Whitby had rarely threatened but went in front six minutes later as Callum Hawkins allowed a soft shot from Kieran Weledji to slither under him after the Whitby number nine cut in from the left.

Rose looped a header over from a Rhys Sharpe cross but although they had the lion’s share of the play, first-half opportunities were limited.

Matlock made a double change at the interval, bringing on Jake Green and Tyler Blake for Jeyden Cotterill and Flint. Green was the outlet on the left with Ryan Wilson switching to right back.

Doyle-Charles drove narrowly over from 25 yards four minutes after the restart and Harrad nodded a Sharpe cross wide three minutes later.

Harrad would have been disappointed not to score in the 55th minute as Bland kept out his shot in a one-on-one duel.

Rose was looking lively and a typical surging run ended with his long-range drive thumping into Bland’s chest.

Having been on the defensive for most of the contest, Whitby suddenly broke and Weledji headed a good chance over the bar in the 69th minute.

It looked as if that miss might prove to be expensive for the Seasiders.

Just four minutes later, good foraging by Harrad on the right saw him set up Rose, who tucked a low shot from the edge of the box inches inside Bland’s left-hand upright.

Soon afterwards Harrad headed a corner back into the danger area and Blake nodded wide, but that was as close as Matlock went to grabbing the decider.

And it was Whitby who stole all three points when Roberts took advantage of Wiley’s misjudgement to steer his shot past Hawkins and extend the Gladiators’ dismal run.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Callum Hawkins 2 Jeyden Cotterill (14 Jake Green 46mins) 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall Flint (12 Tyler Blake 46mins) 8 Callum Lloyd 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Luis Rose 11 Rhys Sharpe (16 Zeyn Hakeem 74mins) Other subs: 15 Nico Degirolamo 17 Darnelle Bailey-King.

WHITBY TOWN: 1 Shane Bland 2 Callum Martin 3 Daniel McWilliams 4 Luke Bytheway 5 Niall McGoldrick 6 Andrew May 7 Andrew Monkhouse 8 Stephen Snaith 9 Kieran Welejdi (12 Michael Roberts 80mins) 10 Matthew Tymon (David Carson 65mins) 11 Adam Gell Other subs: 15 Anthony Hume 16 Kyle Fryatt 17 Daniel Dixon.

REFEREE: Ian Johnston (Wakefield).

ATTENDANCE: 372.

BEST GLADIATOR: Luis Rose.