Gladiators see red as promotion play-off hopes dented by late winner

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A late goal and a red card hit Matlock Town’s Northern Premier League play-off hopes as they were beaten 2-1 by visitors Workington — a second successive home defeat.

Matlock took an early lead, but were then second best against a slick visiting outfit who desevedly equalised four minutes before half-time and scored an 88th minute winner.

The visitors capitalised on the dismissal of Joe Doyle-Charles 10 minutes from time.

The Matlock player, who was the victim of a poor challenge by James Earl, pushed the Workington player as a melee developed with punches thrown.

However, Doyle-Charles was the only player punished — earlier in the season Earl saw red for a challenge on Doyle-Charles in an FA Cup tie.

The kick-off was delayed for 45 minutes after a fan collapsed and an air ambulance landed on the pitch to take the supporter to hospital.

Matlock got off to the best possible start as Marc Newsham won possession on the right to feed Marcus Dinanga, who set up Ted Cribley to net with a calm finish.

But Matlock could not build on their eighth-minute advantage.

Workington got back into the game and Jack Ryan headed a Jacob Simpson free kick wide, David Symington had an effort held by Phil Barnes and James Earl was narrowly off target from distance.

Connor Tinnion levelled when he ran at the defence and into the penalty area, scoring with a low diagonal drive.

A poor header back towards Barnes by Nico Degirolamo threatened further damage for the hosts, but Barnes managed to keep the ball out at the expense of a corner.

Matlock improved after the break with Michael Williams firing narrowly wide from distance.

The Gladiators might have regained the lead seven minutes into the second half when top scorer Marcus Dinanga latched on to a neat return pass from Marc Newsham, but pulled his shot wide with only keeper Arron Taylor to beat.

Seven minutes later Newsham headed wide as the home side wasted another chance to regain the lead.

Curtis Morrison, back at the DCJ Group Arena on loan from Chesterfield, replaced Newsham, but Workington began to create the better opportunities.

Barnes saved well from Scott Allison and then raced out swiftly to deny Tinnion.

After the dismissal of Doyle-Charles, it looked as if Matlock had battled their way to a hard-earned point.

But with two minutes remaining substitute Sam Joel, on his Workington debut, found the unmarked Jack Ryan, who pushed in the winner.

It condemned Matlock to a second successive home defeat and dented their play-off hopes. They remain in the promotion equation, but need to rediscover the form that made them a potent threat earlier in the campaign.

And they face a difficult task on Saturday at leaders Blyth Spartans.

MATLOCK TOWN: Phil Barnes, Liam Marsden, Jake Green, Joe Doyle-Charles, Nico Degirolamo, Dwayne Wiley, Niall McManus ( Cenk Acar 81mins), Michael Williams, Marc Newsham ( Curtis Morrison 66mins), Marcus Dinanga, Ted Cribley. Subs not used: Adam Yates, Jamie Yates, Alex Pursehouse.

WORKINGTON: Arran Taylor, Jacob Simpson, Gari Rowntree, Kyle May, Josh Calvert, James Earl (Anthony Wright 89mins), David Symington, Robert Wilson, Jack Ryan, Scott Allison (Sam Joel 82mins), Connor Tinnion Subs not used: Nathan Waterston, Sam Smith, Matthew Douglas.