Hyde 2-2 Matlock Town - report

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Matlock were left to reflect on what might have been, and that would have been a third win on the trot, as they looked back over their draw at Ewen Fields on Saturday.

The Gladiators had recovered from their half-time deficit to lead ten minutes into the second half only to concede a sloppy and avoidable equalizer with 15 minutes left to set up a nailbiting finale.

Manager Mark Hume kept faith with the starting line-up which had won at Rushall Olympic in midweek, but captain Danny Holland was named amongst the substitutes shaving not featured at all in the West Midlands.

Hyde had been without a home win for six months and newly relegated from National League North, their manager Gary Lowe said in his programme notes that “we only intend to be here for a season.”

On the evidence of Saturday, it will be an extended stay in the Evo-Stik League.

The hosts had the lion’s share of the chances in the opening half, the first though falling to Matlock’s Joel Purkiss whose cross shot was cut out at the expense of a fruitless corner.

Hyde replied on 15 minutes with Lee Neville breaking down the left to cross for Lee Gregory whose shot drifted wide. Spencer Harris skied a shot off target before at the other end Niall McManus skipped around goalkeeper Josh Ollerenshaw only for his skipper Shane Killock to head McManus’ attempt clear and keep the home goal intact.

Not for the only time in the match and it would prove to be costly later on, Lewis King’s kicking was faulty and it allowed Sam Fitton to try his luck from all of forty yards, the ball bouncing wide.

King made a better job of saving from Scott Spencer at his near post but from the 43rd minute corner Hyde went in front. The ball ricocheted off Harry Coates to drop conveniently for Fitton to drive in from close range.

It might have been worse for Matlock had Oscar Radford not been brilliantly placed to hook Killock’s header off the line from another corner.

Whatever Hume said to his troops at the interval certainly had the desired effect for the visitors were back on level terms inside three minutes.

In a neat move on the left neat combination play from Ted Cribley and then Purkiss finished with Purkiss feeding McManus a peach of a through pass to open up the Hyde defence and McManus kept his cool to draw Ollerenshaw and slide home a low shot.

Matlock had their tails up now and were in front when from a corner on the left, Coates rose above the home defence to plant a firm header into the net.

Now Matlock needed to make their supremacy count, a third goal would have finished the match as a contest.

They nearly got it on two occasions, firstly Cribley, a model of consistency in the engine room, forcing an excellent save from Ollerenshaw and then the goalkeeper denying Holland his first goal of the season in similar style.

But after collecting a routine cross from the left, King slipped as he drop kicked his clearance, there was insufficient height and distance on it.

Ben Jago intercepted and fed Spencer who shrugged off Harcourt to fire gleefully past King and from a position of comfort there was now concern for Matlock.

Hyde substitutes Peter Boyle and Big Khamsuk forced important saves from King in a physical ending which saw bookings for Hyde’s Ryan Ellison and Andy Pearson with Harry Coates seeing the yellow card for Matlock.

The Gladiators could have won it at the death as they had done on many occasions via a substitute as Ollerenshaw pulled off a marvellous save to stop Nathan Forbes from giving the Gladiators all three points.