Match report: Rushall Olympic 6 Matlock Town 1

Jon Kennedy, Matlock Town goalkeeper
Jon Kennedy, Matlock Town goalkeeper

Matlock threw away a half time lead and their unbeaten start to 2014 in a crazy second half collapse at Rushall.

The visitors had edged ahead at the break before the floodgates opened and they shipped six goals in 45 minutes.

A resurgent Rushall took full advantage of the conditions aided by some dubious refereeing to put Matlock to the sword.

Referee Mr Smart, however, cannot be blamed for some of the uncharacteristically crass defending on display from Matlock.

Some of the mistakes were embarrassing. The hope being the Gladiators have made all of their mistakes in one game.

Next time out they have to get back to the basics of no nonsense defending which has served them well so far this campaign.

Matlock named an unchanged side from the one victorious at Frickley a fortnight earlier but added under-19s striker Matt Andrews to their bench.

Rushall are a physical outfit and were too strong for Matlock even without former Football League marksman Dele Adebola.

Matlock had the wind and the slope with them in the opening half but were guilty of not taking full advantage of this.

There was little quality from either side in the opening exchanges. James Ashmore sliced wide for Matlock before Rushall’s Stan Mugisha forced Jon Kennedy into a fine blocking save.

Micky Harcourt and Josh Craddock were booked after Mr Smart had a lengthy talk with his assistant following a clash in the box.

Matlock took the lead after Danny Holland and Shaun Tuton combined with the latter slotting in a precise finish past Chris Gemmell.

The Gladiators had something to build on but that was as good as it got for Mark Atkins’ men.

It took the Pics just three minutes after the re-start to draw level when James Dance fired in a free-kick Kennedy could only parry into the net.

The Matlock keeper made a flurry of fine saves before Dance struck the bar with another free kick and Karl Ashton got to the rebound from close range.

The match was virtually over as far as a contest was concerned when Oscar Radford looked to head back to his keeper only to look on with horror as the ball bounced apologetically into an unguarded net.

Mugisha pounced on a misplaced pass from Radford to make it four before Dance comfortably converted from the penalty spot after Joe Leesley was adjudged to have handled in the box.

Mugisha completed the rout when he made it six with just three minutes remaining as Matlock were left to look around at each other.

Matlock: Kennedy, Harcourt (White 58), Leesley, Foster (Thomas 77), Haggerty, Radford, Needham, Ashmore, Holland (Gregory 77), Tuton, Yates. Subs not used: Andrews, Leese.

Attendance: 176.