Gladiators fight back from conceding early goal for third successive win
A Marcus Marshall brace, plus a strike from Luke Hinsley, gave Matlock Town an excellent 3-1 comeback victory at Whitby Town.
They had fallen behind early on to a Matty Tymon goal at the blustery and Baltic Turnbull Ground, but recovered in style to remain ninth in the Evo-Stik NPL — just six points off second place.
The Gladiators’ recent record reads played 13, won nine, drawn three, and lost one, that one defeat coming in their last away match at South Shields a fortnight earlier.
But the Gladiators certainly bounced back with two home wins inbetween and have now won their last three.
Whitby struck first in the sixth minute when the wind put Ross Durrant in two minds whether to come and meet a centre. In the lottery provided by the weather, it turned out to be the wrong option as Matty Tymon bundled the ball home, although it would be harsh to criticise Durrant who had been in terrific form previously.
Matlock responded positively, Hinsley having a low effort blocked by McHugh a few feet from the goal before a defender got in the way of another Hinsley effort after Adam Yates had nodded on a long throw from the left.
Marshall showed devastating pace as he broke down the inside right channel to thread a cool finish beyond McHugh to pull Matlock level in the 32nd minute.
From then on Matlock dominated with Durrant a virtual spectator, apart from a fine close range save from Tymon shortly before the break.
Dale Hopson drove well wide from the edge of the box early in the second half before the hard-working Hinsley, who provides the perfect foil for Marshall’s pace, brilliantly held off his marker as he was forced out to the right. He still a Lees cut out at the expense of a corner, from which Hinsley headed wide claiming he was pushed in the back.
But Hinsley was all smiles in the 68th minute as Alex White misjudged the flight of the ball as it bounced to the alert Hinsley, who advanced quickly to comfortably shoot beyond McHugh from 20 yards in a one-on-one duel.
Greg Rutherford’s rather desperate attempt failed to trouble Durrant and Matlock looked to add to their tally, ensuring they would enjoy their Christmas night out in Leeds after the game and the three point return with a third goal ten minutes from time.
They caught Whitby sleeping from a throw on the right and Marshall cut in to stroke a low shot into the bottom opposite corner of the net.
Cleveland Taylor had two clear-cut chances to embarrass the hosts further, both superbly and unselfishly created by substitute Craig Westcarr.
White blocked the first one before Taylor shot wide but it could not detract from an industrious performance and fully deserved win as the biting wind cut through the 258 crowd, including a healthy following from Derbyshire.
Hinsley and Marshall were at times unplayable, Hinsley’s workrate was relentless while Marshall’s pace was a constant threat and he bounced back brilliantly after his penalty miss in his previous game.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Ross Durrant 2 Taron Hare 3 Lee Beevers 4 Michael Hollingsworth 5 Dwayne Wiley (12 Brad Beatson 82) 6 Adam Yates 7 Jordan Chapell (16 Nathan Whitehead 77) 8 Cleveland Taylor 9 Luke Hinsley (15 Craig Westcarr 82) 10 Marcus Marshall 11 Craig King.
Subs not used: 14 Jamie Jackson 17 Ashton Hall.
REFEREE: James Bancroft (Stockton on Tees).
BEST GLADIATOR: Luke Hinsley.