Fortune deserts Matlock in latest league setback

Ross Hannah''matlock Town
Ross Hannah''matlock Town

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Evo-Stik Premier Division

Stocksbridge Park Steels 3

Mark Ward 31

Andy Ring 47

Jack Muldoon 84

Matlock Town 1

Ross Hannah 38

Matlock boss Mark Atkins was left fuming with the officials for the second time in four days as Stocksbridge clinched a much-needed win at the Look Local Stadium on Tuesday.

This was Matlock’s third defeat on the trot in a week, but this time they had done enough to win the match.

But the visitors challenged the validity of all three goals, although for the second at least, they were not completely blameless.

Frustration had again been building in the Matlock camp and erupted when Stocksbridge put the game to bed with their third goal, seven minutes from time. Ross Hannah was clearly pulled back by giant Steels’ defender Brett Lovell, an offence admitted by him and goalkeeper Ben Scott afterwards, with Lovell actually apologising to Hannah.

But referee Mick Beverley ignored the appeals for a spot kick and, within seconds, a one-goal deficit had become two as Jack Muldoon was left clear to lift his shot over the exposed Adam Sollitt.

A furious Hannah was booked for venting his spleen at the referee’s assistant, and it was perhaps an indication a mistake had been made when Mr Beverley did not brandish a red card.

Matlock gave a debut to winger James Naylor, brought in on a dual signature basis with Harrogate Town, as Atkins was forced into changes due to injuries to Lee Featherstone and Kris Bowler.

On a wet night but on a lovely surface, Matlock began brightly with Naylor obstructed on the left only for Knowles’ free kick to be too close to Scott.

As Matlock maintained a quick tempo, a Hannah shot was deflected wide and when Scott palmed out a cross, Steels were able to clear as the ball fell invitingly for them.

Steels came close on two occasions but did take the lead in dubious circumstances in the 31st minute. Ben Turner was adjudged to have tugged Andy Ring, and despite no appeals from the Steels players, Mr Beverley pointed to the spot and Ward netted comfortably. This probably added fuel to the Gladiators’ complaints later in the match.

Matlock rallied well with Dene Cropper nodding down towards Naylor but the newcomer’s shot lacked power.

In the 38th minute, the goal Town deserved came when Steve Warne’s beautifully weighted pass saw Hannah beat the offside trap and he hammered home.

Matlock were in the ascendancy but within two minutes of the second half starting, the hosts were back in front. Liam King looked as if he had won the ball but a free-kick was awarded. Calamitous defending saw the low free kick half-sliced by Knowles and Ring squeezed the ball home.

Matlock remained on top, playing the better football but had little luck at times.

Adam Yates set up Cropper whose shot was charged down and then the impressive Algar swung over a peach of a cross which was just outside of Cropper’s radar.

Scott pulled off the best of several saves to tip away a Hannah strike but Mr Beverley inexplicably gave a goal kick. This was small fry compared to what happened when Stocksbridge made sure of their win.

3-1 was a travesty of a scoreline. Again, the effort was there and at least Matlock played a lot more good football than the Marine game but the manner of the defeat was very hard to take.

Matlock Town: Adam Sollitt, Ben Turner (Kris Witcombe 87), Ben Algar, Liam King, Adam Yates, James Lukic, James Knowles, (Danny Wood 75), Steve Warne, Dene Cropper, Ross Hannah, James Naylor (Lee Morris 64) Other sub: Nick Buxton

Referee: M Beverley – Halifax

Attendance: 148

Star Man: Ben Algar