Matlock Town win tough test at Warrington Town
Goals in each half from Jesurun Uchebgulam and substitute Callum Chippendale, each notching their first of the season, gave Matlock another fantastic victory in a potentially difficult away match.
Having won at Nantwich in midweek, this controlled and disciplined performance was too much for the highly fancied Yellows who scarcely troubled visiting custodian Shaun Rowley.
Matlock boss Paul Phillips was delighted with both the result and the performance.
“It was another perfect away performance, we all worked tremendously hard and I can’t remember Shaun having a save to make all afternoon” said Phillips.
“If I have one gripe it’s that we weren’t clinical enough and the game could have been put to bed long before we got the second goal.”
It is difficult to argue against Phillips. Matlock were thoroughly professional in their approach and again it was a fine team performance full of spirit and endeavour which led to a second away win in four days and their fourth in succession in the league.
Matlock’s starting line up was unchanged from their win at Nantwich, Chippendale though replaced Craig King on the substitutes bench. Alex Byrne was back at one of his former clubs and along with Sam Egerton and Dec Walker, were keen to impress in the town where they live.
The early exchanges were scrappy as both sides sought to gain a foothold in the game. Uchebegulam created the first noteworthy opportunity, cutting in from the right , his shot swerving wide of the far post. Alex Wiles did the same shortly afterwards before Jerome Greaves had the best chance, heading over when well placed after home goalkeeper Dan Atherton had failed to reach a cross from Byrne.
There was a contrast in styles as Matlock tried to get the ball down and play through midfield while Warrington went direct, often aiming for giant centre forward Josh Amis.
Matlock’s approach seemed to be the more successful, with more action in the Yellows penalty box with a defender heading clear while on the floor in a scramble before the hosts were rescued by the referee’s whistle.
Warrington were continuously thwarted by a superb Matlock central defensive trio of Jamie Sharman, Egerton and Ryan Qualter, giving goalkeeper Shaun Rowley the best of protection.
Atherton fielded a Sharman shot and as Matlock began to turn the screw, a teasing Byrne corner from the left only needed a touch as it was missed by everyone.
But the Gladiators deservedly went ahead as the opening half went into added time. Persistence from UCHEBGULAM won the day as he chased a long pass from Byrne, shrugged off the challenge of Matt Regan and as Mark Roberts attempted to clear, he blocked and strode forward to fire a low shot under Atherton. There was still time for Matlock to conjure another chance, Greaves holding off Duggan and Atherton produced a marvellous save to deflect the shot to safety.
After Bohan Dixon had drove unspectacularly too high for Warrington, there was another fine chance for Matlock in the 50th minute, Greaves setting up Wiles who pulled his shot disappointingly wide of the near post.
Wiles was foiled again seven minutes later, Atherton bravely diving at his feet to keep the Yellows in contention, although a few minutes earlier the hosts were fortunate to still have eleven men on the field as Amis jumped at Sharman with his elbow and was relieved to see referee William Davis pull out a yellow card.
A Dixon free kick dropped harmlessly over the bar as Warrington were running out of ideas, dominated in midfield by the excellent Walker who was all over the pitch getting in a foot to break up play and then playing the simple pass to put Matlock on the front foot. Wiles was also full of energy and purpose in his best game so far for the Gladiators.
Greaves was nearly on the end of a pass from Mark Lees, Regan managing to get an important toe to the ball as the striker pulled the ball down ready to shoot.
Regan burst forward on a driving run but it ended with a wild long range shot over the bar.
Matlock brought on Chippendale for Greaves and within five minutes, CHIPPENDALE doubled the visitors advantage, cutting in from the right to shoot goalwards, the ball squirming under the body of Atherton at the near post.
Matlock were now home and dry, Chippendale being fouled by Edmund Clarke which brought a booking for the Warrington wing back. A Dixon shot was blocked at the expense of a corner which was comfortably dealt with.
Rowley did not have a shot to save in the ninety minutes, in fact a long clearance from Atherton was held by Rowley with match statisticians querying as to whether that could be classed as a shot at goal, and if so, it would have been the Yellows one and only.
Three more points, a second successive clean sheet, all in all a tremendous day for Matlock against opponents they have struggled against in the past.
WARRINGTON TOWN: 1 Dan Atherton 2 James Baillie (12 James Harris 70) 3 Edmund Clarke 4 Mitch Duggan 5 Mark Roberts 6 Matt Regan 7 Jack Mackreth (16 Dominic Reid 24) 18 Benjamin Hough 9 Josh Amis 10 Bohan Dixon 11 Luke Duffy Other subs: 14 Matthew Grivosti 15 Sean Miller 17 Kian Hall
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Shaun Rowley 2 Jamie Sharman 3 Reece Kendall 4 Sam Egerton 5 Ryan Qualter 6 Mark Lees 7 Alex Byrne 8 Alex Wiles (17 Jonathan Wafula 90) 9 Jerome Greaves (14 Callum Chippendale 72) 10 Dec Walker 11 Jesurun Uchebgulam (15 Lirak Hasani 82) Other subs: 12 Ashton Hall 16 Oli Greaves
REFEREE: William Davis (Salford).
BEST GLADIATOR: Dec Walker