A battling Matlock put last week’s disappointing show at Ossett Albion firmly behind them against big spending First Division South newcomers Shaw Lane Aquaforce.
The Gladiators led twice with the Barnsley hosts’ second equaliser coming just five minutes from time and there was enough in the performance to suggest Mark Hume’s men will be competitive in what looks to be a tough Premier Division this season.
Lewis King was called in to action inside the first five minutes to block a strike from Adam Priestly but he was largely untroubled in the opening 45 minutes - Matlock, in contrast, had a Danny Holland shot cleared off the line and Oscar Radford drove firmly over the bar.
Hume’s side found the target with a minute of the half remaining as poor Ducks defending was punished by Joel Purkiss, who calmly rolled a low shot beyond Deakin.
Sam Denton powered home a firm header on 49 minutes to level matters but Matlock, encouragingly, did not sit back and Ted Cribley went on a run down the right before Holland was challenged in the area.
Niall McManus took full advantage of indecision between the Shaw Lane central defenders and Deakin, keeping his head to sidestep the goalkeeper and score with a precision finish into an empty net on 65 minutes.
Shaw Lane finished strongly and levelled through Lee Bennett’s crisply struck first time shot. Gladiators keeper King then pulled off a fine diving save from Allott and Ben Algar cleared off the line from Denton as it ended 2-2.
But Matlock stood firm and resolute, the hallmark of their performance, to earn a deserved draw.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Lewis King 2 Micky Harcourt (14 Josh Meade 69) 3 Ben Algar 4 Nicky Travis 5 Adam Yates 6 Oscar Radford 7 Ted Cribley 8 Liam Gaughan 9 Joel Purkiss (12 Scott Maxfield 90) 10 Danny Holland 11 Niall McManus. ATTENDANCE: 84.