The positives far outweighed the negatives as far as Matlock Town were concerned in what was one of the more entertaining scoreless draws against Scarborough..
Longstanding Gladiators fans reflected on what was one of their club’s finest hours when the old Scarborough were put to the sword in the 1975 FA Trophy final by a 4-0 margin.
The present day Gladiators did their best to emulate that win as they dominated large chunks of the game but could not find a breakthrough.
After three successive defeats, this was a much better and more encouraging Matlock display and fifth placed Scarborough were happy to return to the Yorkshire coast with a point. With a little more luck and steadier finishing, Matlock might have added the two extra points to their tally.
A big positive though was the clean sheet, Matlock’s first in 16 outings since the 7-0 thumping of Grantham Town on October 23.
It was no mean feat either against a striker of the calibre of James Walshaw, currently joint top in the league’s leading goalscorers list.
Home captain Adam Yates on his 451st appearance did a magnificent job in keeping Walshaw quiet, the striker barely having a sniff of an opportunity throughout the contest.
Jamie Jackson and Luke Hinsley were the central strikers with top scorer Craig Westcarr left on the bench, Marcus Marshall being switched to a wide role on the right.
Reserve team star Jordan Wells was named as a substitute. with Michael Williams also a surprise inclusion on the bench after learning that his doctor had advised he would be okay to play with his hernia problem. Scarborough did not include new signing from Matlock, Tom Davie in their squad.
On a cold day with snow overlooking the Proctor Cars Stadium from the surrounding hills, Matlock made a positive start, Craig King having an effort charged down within the opening minute.
After Dwayne Wiley had done well to repel a Scarborough response, Matlock attacked again with Jackson nodding a Marshall cross from the right narrowly off target.
But Matlock should have ended their goal drought, now at four and a half games, in the 14th minute when excellent play from home debutant Greg Tempest released Hinsley who in a one on one with goalkeeper Thomas Taylor, could only fire tamely at him.
There was another less obvious chance four minutes later as Brad Beatson, running from deep fired into the sidenetting.A quiet Scarborough’s first shot at goal was a 25th minute Ryan Watson free kick which dropped wide with Yates shortly afterwards superbly tackling Walshaw who had got the better of Wiley.
An ambitious long range chip from Tempest was fielded by Taylor before King, a constant menace on the left flank, cut in to fire across the face of the goal. As half time neared, Jackson found space around the back of the Seadogs defence on the right, but was unable to find a supporting Gladiator.
Scarborough had their best spell in the opening half of the second period, Watson seeing a sizzling shot from the edge of the box flash narrowly wide before Matlock bravely blocked a couple of attempts at the expense of an unproductive corner.
At the other end Tempest again tried his luck from distance, the ball drifting wide before Matlock swapped Westcarr for Hinsley, the substitute having a “goal” chalked out through an offside flag on 71 minutes.
Yates was harshly booked after what seemed a fair 50-50 challenge before Williams replaced Marshall for the final quarter of an hour.
Jackson could not finish off a shot from King which deflected towards him as constant Matlock pressure followed.
Westcarr curled a twenty five yard free kick narrowly wide with Taylor rooted to the spot before danger man King cut in from the left, his rasping shot bending away from the target at the last moment. Westcarr’s cross from the right sped across the six yard area before a Williams header was too high as Matlock were ultimately denied the win their performance most probably deserved.
Nevertheless their first point of 2019 gives them lots to build on. Playing on the front foot suits Matlock the best, the crowd backed them to the hilt and there were many decent performances from the men in blue.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Ross Durrant 2 Lee Beevers 3 Brad Beatson 4 Michael Hollingsworth 5 Dwayne Wiley 6 Adam Yates 7 Marcus Marshall (14 Michael Williams 75) 8 Greg Tempest 9 Luke Hinsley (12 Craig Westcarr 65) 10 Jamie Jackson 11 Craig King.
Other subs: 15 Jordan Wells 16 Ashton Hall 17 Jordan Pierrepont.
SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC: 1 Thomas Taylor 2 Jack Johnson 3 Dave Merris 4 Matthew Dixon (15 Jamie Forrester 82) 5 Ross Killock 6 Josh Lacey 7 Nathan Valentine 8 Ryan Watson 9 James Walshaw 10 Michael Coulson 11 James Cadman (16 Flynn McNaughton 82).
Other subs: 12 Tom Morgan 14 Jamie Maguire 17 James Williamson.
REFEREE: Stuart Richardson (Mansfield Woodhouse).
BEST GLADIATOR: Adam Yates.