Matlock Town lose top of table clash against South Shields
Darius Osei’s 62nd minute header gave South Shields a 1-0 win at Matlock Town.
A fantastic 1364 crowd watched Matlock put up tremendous resistance against an excellent Shields full time outfit who at times showed just why they are title favourites.
Then after the goal Matlock pushed forward to throw the kitchen sink at the North Easterners but a leveller would not come as now South Shields battled like trojans to keep Matlock out, with a touch of good fortune along the way.
With two minutes left, Matlock had a huge penalty claim rejected by Sheffield referee Anthony Tankard, one which a lot of fans termed stonewall, but it was not to be.
With Reece Kendall suspended, Jesurun Uchebgulam continued in a left wing back role, Adam Yates returning from injury in the one change to the starting line up which had won 3-1 at Grantham on Tuesday. On the same night Shields had ended a three game winless streak with a 2-0 derby win against Morpeth.
Matlock had a let off with only 2 minutes gone as the visitors began firmly on the front foot, Alex Kempster striking the post from close range. Ryan Qualter superbly blocked a cross from Dan Martin before Matlock had a sniff of a chance as Callum Chippendale was crowded out from a Liam Hughes flick on.
Osei got the better of Ioan Evans down the right, Matlock custodian Shaun Rowley scrambling the shot away at the expense of a corner from which Rowley was alert to turn away Conor Tee’s attempt from the right.
Chippendale put a difficult chance wide after enterprise from Alex Wiles forced a corner on the right but Shields broke quickly and the stretching Kempster ballooned his eight yarder over the bar after the energetic Tee had created the opening.
Matlock’s Jamie Cooke was chasing everything and when he was fed by Wiles on 27 minutes, he would have been disappointed to have fired emphatically high and wide and when he broke away down the right shortly afterwards, his low cross was cleared by the Shields defence.
Rowley came to his side’s rescue in the 37th minute with a marvellous diving save to knock away Tee’s powerful header, and he was at it again from the flag kick, this time tipping away a header by Callum Ross.
Nathan Lowe’s shot struck a defender to earn Shields another corner, Hughes conceding another with his clearing header and then Adam Yates covering superbly from a Tee cross with Matlock the happier of the two sides at the blank interval scoreline.
Osei’s cross from the left flashed invitingly across the Gladiators’ penalty box as the second period got under way. Matlock though were much improved as an attacking unit as the half wore on.
They nearly drew first blood on 58 minutes as Uchebgulam burst down the left to find Cooke whose blocked effort fell to Alex Byrne who could only prod a tame shot at goalkeeper Myles Boney.
A fine Evans challenge stopped Martin in the box but Shields won a corner which led to their winner, Kempster’s header finding OSEI who nodded past Rowley from six yards.
Matlock made three substitutions in an attempt to save the game and they came within a whisker of an 81st minute equaliser when Hughes rose to meet Byrne’s penetrating cross only to head less than a foot wide.
Then substitutes Jerome Greaves and Liam King had shots charged down before Hannah’s goalbound shot was handled by Dillon Morse for what appeared to be a blatant penalty. But Mr Tankard would have none of it and also a less straightforward appeal when Lees went down was also turned away.
Another scramble saw a Lees shot deflected to safety as it turned out not to be Matlock’s day in spite of a brave and spirited display.
Their 100 per cent home league record had been punctured but their pride hadn’t.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Shaun Rowley 2 Adam Yates 3 Jesurun Uchebgulam (12 Ross Hannah 71) 4 Ioan Evans 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Alex Byrne 8 Alex Wiles (14 Jerome Greaves 77) 9 Liam Hughes 10 Jamie Cooke (17 Liam King 65) 11 Callum Chippendale Other subs: 15 Matt Sargent 16 Craig King
SOUTH SHIELDS: 1 Myles Boney 2 Dan Martin 3 Blair Adams 4 Jon Shaw 5 Dillon Morse 6 Jack Bodenham 7 Conor Tee 8 Callum Ross 9 Darius Osei 10 Nathan Lowe 11 Alex Kempster Subs-not used: 12 Will McGowan 14 Blair Rossiter 15 Callum Stead 16 Sam Hodgson 21 Arron Steavens
REFEREE: Anthony Tankard (Sheffield) ATTENDANCE: 1364 BEST GLADIATOR: Adam Yates