Matt Thornhill’s 39th minute goal decided Matlock’s first home game of the new decade as Basford strengthened their position in the promotion race and heaped increased pressure on the Gladiators.
It was a third consecutive defeat for Steve Kittrick’s side who wasted a gilt edged chance of securing at least a point by missing a 53rd minute penalty. Had Spencer Harris scored from the spot instead of smacking against the crossbar, Matlock would probably have gained a point, if not all three.
The Gladiators certainly deserved a draw from a game of limited clear cut scoring opportunities. Apart from their goal, the Nottingham side created just one more opportunity of note, as Kane Richards directed his header from Ryan Wilson’s centre midway through the first half directly at Jon Stewart.
Before then the recalled Piteu Crouz looked lively, meeting a centre from Luke Hinsley, his effort being scrambled to safety. Shortly afterwards, Crouz was in the thick of the action once again,Basford having a let off when Stefan Galinski cleared his shot off the line with goalkeeper Kieran Preston beaten.
Marcus Marshall soon found room on the left, his dangerous cross being scrambled behind for an unproductive corner.
Jack Thomas was integral in Basford’s response, a fiercely driven cross at head high across the Matlock box being followed by a twenty five yard strike which comfortably cleared the bar.
But the decisive moment came when James Reid collected the ball ten yards inside the Gladiators half to deliver a clinical pass with the outside of his boot to THORNHILL charging down the right to lift a firm composed finish over Stewart. It came just a minute after Marshall had cut in from the right at the opposite end to fire high and wide.
If Thornhill’s goal was crucial to the outcome, so was Harris’ failure from the spot. Hinsley was upended by Thomas as he weaved in from the right, referee Ben Wyatt instantly pointing to the spot. But the usually composed Harris failed for the first time in Matlock colours as his fierce strike rebounded back to the edge of the eighteen yard area.
As Matlock tried to repair the damage, a Tomas Poole free kick was headed behind by a Basford defender before a Poole cross was a touch too high for Hinsley, now occupying a central striking position alongside substitute Chib Chilaka.
Most of the game was now in the Basford half although a visitors substitute, Courey Grantham drove wide from the edge of the box and at Stewart in rare threats after the break.
Matlock increased the pressure, Hinsley heading too high from a Sam Scrivens centre and a Scrivens free kick being fumbled on to an upright by Preston.
Three quick corners on the trot followed but Matlock could not find a reply as they fell to a fourth successive home league defeat.
Even Stewart twice ventured forward to help from these corners but to no avail.
Basford broke quickly at the death with Thomas and Grantham clear of a trailing defence but the Thomas pass found Grantham in an offside position, Grantham’s shot into the empty net being ruled out.
Seconds later the final whistle blew to confirm Matlock’s fate and give Basford some revenge for two defeats inflicted by Matlock earlier in the campaign. In terms of effort, Matlock could not be faulted, a point made by a frustrated manager Kittrick afterwards.
“Everyone, from one to seventeen has given one hundred per cent, we didn’t have that luck which we needed today. Spencer’s (Harris) is gutted by the penalty miss but it’s gone now and we need to get on with it, that’s football. Had it gone in I think we’d have gone on from there and won it.”
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Stewart 2 Adam Yates 3 Ben Gordon 4 Luke Dean 5 Spencer Harris 6 Bailey Gooda 7 Luke Hinsley 8 Tomas Poole 9 Marcus Marshall (17 Jack Rea 76) 10 Sam Scrivens 11 Piteu Crouz (12 Chib Chilaka 72) Other subs: 14 Dan Bramall 15 James Tague 16 Jordan Sinnott
BASFORD UNITED: 1 Kieran Preston 2 Dominic Roma 3 Ryan Wilson 4 Matt Thornhill 5 Brad Gascoigne 6 Stefan Galinski 7 Kane Richards (15 Nathan Watson 75) 8 Callum Chettle (12 Lewis Carr 84) 9 Ashley Worsfold (16 Courey Grantham 66) 10 Jack Thomas 11 James Reid Other subs: 14 Josh law 17 James Carvell
REFEREE: Ben Wyatt (Stockport) ATTENDANCE: 424 BEST GLADIATOR: Tomas Poole