Injury-hit Matlock slip to second home defeat

Lee Ellington, Matlock Town
Lee Ellington, Matlock Town

Monday, August 27, 2012

Evo-Stik League Premier Division

Matlock Town 0

Rushall Olympic 3

Matlock’s bewildering start to the season continued as an average but well-drilled Rushall side inflicted another heavy defeat on them.

But the injury-stricken Gladiators, missing no fewer than eight players who would have made the first team squad, including their central midfield components, gave as good as they got for the opening 60 minutes and were unfortunate to trail to Steve Abbott’s 29th minute strike.

Then another devastating injury, as Brad Grayson was helped off with hamstring trouble, likely to keep him out for eight weeks, hampered them further, with replacement Ryan Hindley having a “goal” chalked off for offside.

Matlock remained in the game until Lei Smith struck the first of his brace with 20 minutes to go.

Even then, Matlock had a chance when Lee Ellington was pulled back by Louis Keenan, who received a yellow rather than the statutory red card. But Ellington chipped his penalty on to the bar and Rushall survived the scramble which followed. Smith compounded Matlock’s woes with his second and Rushall’s third with 12 minutes remaining.

Rushall were probably the wrong side to face given Town’s injury situation. The Pics are a no-nonsense, direct side with little finesse, but they play to their strengths. It’s not exhilarating to watch but mighty effective, and it gave them their fourth league win out of four games played.

Town welcomed back skipper James Lukic, who noticeably organised the home defence into a more resilient unit. A promising Grayson cross was cleared and then Adam Yates, pushed forward into midfield with Town short of engine room players, delivered a fine cross which Rushall bundled clear.

Ellington headed a Grayson cross directly at Gemmell, quickly followed by Ellington’s centre which the supporting Phil Roe was an ace away from reaching.

A quickly taken Matlock free kick saw Gemmell grab possession off Nathan Joynes. The game then flared up. Lukic went in hard on Dave Walker, resulting in lectures for both the Gladiators’ skipper and his compatriot Wayne Daniel.

Shortly afterwards, Rushall went in front when the ball broke to Steve Abbott, who drove firmly home from 12 yards.

Roe glanced a Martin Foster cross narrowly wide and Ellington drove at Gemmell in a promising start to the new half. But the penetration was missing and the hosts were nearly caught out as Kennedy saved well from Michael Clarke.

Brown fired wide before doubling the visitors’ lead and giving Matlock a mountain to climb. That ascent should have been made easier but was wasted by Ellington’s missed spot kick. Brown sealed the win by curling the third goal in off a post.

Matlock Town: Jon Kennedy, Ryan Laight (Joe Leesley 64), Lee Featherstone, Martin Foster, Luke Foster, James Lukic, Bradley Grayson (Ryan Hindley 32), Adam Yates, Lee Ellington, Nathan Joynes, Phil Roe Subs not used: Rory Coleman, Kris Witcombe, Nick Buxton

Referee: M Dwyer - Castleford

Attendance: 282

Star man: James Lukic