Late equaliser costly after Gladiators fight back with a Harrad double

Matlock Town FC v Altrincham FC.
Matlock Town FC v Altrincham FC.

An 84th-minute equaliser cost Matlock Town two points as visitors Marine fought back for a 2-2 EvoStik Northern Premier League draw.

Matlock had recovered from an interval deficit to lead, but again their failure to put a consistent 90-minute performance together proved to be their downfall as more points were dropped.

Even then, the home side should have grabbed all three points and management duo Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins wll have been disappointed with the result.

Retaining the starting line up that defeated Mickleover in midweek, Matlock immediately went on the attack with Luis Rose firing comfortably wide and Marine goalkeeper Ben Barnes holding a Shaun Harrad header.

But the hosts lost concentration on 10 minutes when Marine took a free kick quickly on the right and Danny Mitchley finished the centre with aplomb.

Harrad glanced a Jake Green cross wide shortly afterwards before firing a free kick into the Mariners defensive wall.

Then Harrad had a shot and a header blocked by a stubborn Marine back line before a fine challenge by Adam Hughes stopped the striker in his tracks as he was about to pull the trigger.

Harrad’s strike partner, Tyler Blake, had an effort deflected wide, Adam Yates put a header narrowly over and Rose had a shot deflected wide to end a half Matlock had dominated without looking altogether convincing.

Apart from the goal Marine seldom threatened, their only other opportunity being a 44t- minute shot from Mitchley that cleared the crossbar.

Matlock made a double change at half-time, bringing on Ted Cribley and Ryan Wilson for Blake and Callum Lloyd.

Within six minutes Matlock were back on level terms, as Cribley found Harrad, who rifled a siperb finish past Barnes from 15 yards.

It was a more business like Matlock now and Rhys Sharpe and Wilson both went close before the Gladiators gained a 68th-minute lead.

After a handling offence in the Mariners penalty box. Harrad confidently struck home the spot-kick.

It looked as though from that point the Gladiators would go on to secure victory.

But Matlock could not build on their advantage and Marine sensed an unlikely point as they fought back late on.

Those dreams materialised when Highes looped a header over Phil Barnes following a long cross from the right.

The draw left Matlock 14th in the table, one place above Marine.

They have 12 points from their 10 matches, including three victories.

MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Nico Degirolamo 3 Jake Green 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Luis Rose 8 Callum Lloyd (14 Ryan Wilson 46) 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Tyler Blake (12 Ted Cribley 46) 11 Rhys Sharpe.

Other subs: 15 Niall Flint 16 Jayden Cotterill 17 Callum Hawkins.

MARINE: 1 Be Barnes 2 Kisimba Kisimba 3 James Short 4 Adam Hughes 5 Michael Grogan 6 William Smart 7 Kenny Strickland (15 Scott Bakkor 75) 8 Michael Brewster (17 Thomas Field 80) 9 Danny Mitchley 10 Vincent Bailey (12 George Hassall 65) 11 James Edgar.

Other subs: 14 Peter Wylie 16 John Shaw.

REFEREE: Matthew Law (Leicester).

ATTENDANCE: 305.

BEST GLADIATOR: Shaun Harrad.