Mistakes are punished in vital promotion clash

Lee Featherstone, Matlock Town.
Lee Featherstone, Matlock Town.

Evo-Stik Premier Division

Tuesday, March 16, 2011

Matlock Town 1

Ross Hannah (pen) 48

Buxton 3

Kieran Lugsden 29, 64

Michael Towey 68

Matlock Town: Adam Sollitt, Kris Witcombe, Lee Featherstone (James Knowles 69), Liam King, Adam Yates, James Lukic, Gareth Davies, Lee Morris, Nathan Joynes (Dene Cropper 57), Ross Hannah, Kris Bowler.

Sub not used: Ben Turner.

Referee: C Ward (Blyth, Notts)

Attendance: 654

Star Man: Kris Bowler

If there is any game in which you would not want to make daft defensive errors, it’s in a key promotion clash at home to your local rivals. Matlock Town did just that against Buxton on Tuesday night.

Manager Mark Atkins was furious afterwards, not only about the costly mistakes at the back, which made Buxton’s task far easier than it should have been, but also because his side had reverted to long ball football in the first half.

Buxton deserved their single-goal interval advantage as the Gladiators played directly into their hands. The visitors were first to most balls and quick to close Matlock down so the hosts persisted in hoofing long passes all too often.

After the break, Matlock had a great 20 minutes, levelling through a Ross Hannah spotkick and then Hannah saw a second penalty saved by Scott Hartley. The Gladiators were on top and needed a second goal which would probably have seen them go on and win, but then the defensive nightmares returned.

The ball was like a hot potato for both sides in the opening exchanges, and it was perhaps a sign of things to come when Adam Sollitt slipped but managed to get a hand to a gentle shot from Kieran Lugsden, who would accept a brace of gifts later on.

Morris did well to hook back a searching centre from the right which was a shade too high for Nathan Joynes, but gradually Buxton were assuming control.

Buxton were ahead on 29 minutes when Lee Featherstone was all too easily closed down by Lugsden, who advanced to shoot confidently past Sollitt.

Matlock wanted a quick response and nearly got it when Lukic put a free header over the bar from a corner.

Matlock needed to be a good deal more positive after the interval and marched out with tons more determination and poise. They were level within three minutes of the resumption. Excellent skill from Hannah saw him fool Agus just outside the box and his instant volley was blocked by Grant Black’s hand to concede a penalty which Hannah ferociously blasted home.

Town poured forward and, on 56 minutes, the referee was pointing to the penalty spot again, as Morris was sent tumbling. This time, Hannah drove to Hartley’s left, but the goalkeeper saved.

But in a calamitious fourminute spell, Sollitt got himself in a terrible mix-up as he came out to meet a routine hoof forward and Lugsden profitted gleefully as he rolled his shot into a vacant net. Then on 68 minutes, it was game over as Michael Towey ghosted in almost unnoticed to lift his shot over Sollitt.

Matlock huffed and puffed and needed something special from Hannah in particular but his frustration boiled over in stoppage time with a late poor challenge on Agus which earned him a booking.