The joy of Friday night’s first win of the season against Barwell was soon wiped away as an abject Matlock slipped to a demoralising defeat at second-from-bottom Frickley, who in turn gained their first maximum points haul of the campaign.
It was an awful game, devoid of quality and more a battle of attrition. After an instantly forgettable opening half, Frickley came out with more fire in the second period and snatched the points thanks to their top scorer of the last two years, Gavin Allott, eight minutes after the resumption.
It took 84 minutes for the Gladiators to produce an on target shot and a late rally failed to save them as it had done in their previous away game at Belper.
An early Frickley corner led to Josh Meade feeling the full force of a ferocious shot from Brad Riley which struck him full on in the face.
Meade put in a couple of promising crosses from the right which a determined home rearguard cleared, then on 27 minutes Micky Harcourt’s header from a free-kick dropped harmlessly too high.
Town were lazy in being caught offside on far too many occasions, so attacks were being brought to an unnecessary and premature end.
Six minutes after half-time Oscar Radford took an arm in the face in a clash inside the Frickley penalty box with Danny South and was forced off.
Matlock delayed making the change hoping Radford would recover, but his nose continued to bleed from two places. While the visitors were down to ten players a long punt from goalkeeper Ben Simpson was helped on, ironically to where Radford would probably have been covering, and Allott had sneaked in to fire home.
On came Leon Osborne who just before the hour, frustratingly failed to follow in Danny Holland’s intelligent downward header, allowing Simpson to steal possession off his toes.
The Gladiators were fortunate to remain just one goal behind on 64 minutes when after Jon Kennedy had spilled a cross, Adam Yates twice made excellent goal line clearances to deny Allott and South.
Matlock thought they had won a penalty when after Osborne had been baulked by Jameel Ible, referee Roberts looked to have pointed to the spot but he was then seen pacing out ten yards for a free-kick right on the edge of the box, crashed against the wall by Harcourt.
Meade finally had an on target shot from a Holland knockdown which Simpson held, a cross shot from Harcourt was pushed away by Simpson and David Haggerty planted two headers over the bar.
But in the final analysis, Matlock were left to reflect that Frickley had done a job on them, winning the physical battle but also forcing Matlock into playing hoofball late on.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014:
Frickley: 1 Ben Simpson 2 Kyle Harrison 3 Lee Stratford 4 Aaron Joseph 5 John Cyrus 6 Jameel Ible 7 Brad Riley 8 McAuley Parkinson 9 Danny South 10 Gavin Allott 11 Ryan Williams (Joel Barnett 83). Subs not used: Luke Jeffs, Matt Knowles, Sanchez Payne, Jon Hood
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 Oscar Radford (Leon Osborne 54) 5 David Haggerty 6 Adam Yates 7 Jason Stokes 8 Josh Meade 9 Danny Holland 10 James Ashmore (Lavell White 70) 11 Liam Needham. Subs not used: Sam Robinson, Matt Andrews, Matty Leese
Att: 242 Ref: Bob Roberts
Star Gladiator: Adam Yates