Oscar Radford’s 89th minute equaliser, his first goal of the season, earned Matlock a deserved point against ten man Buxton on Easter Monday.
The Bucks’ scorer, a former Gladiators striker in Lee Morris, had been sent off for a 63rd minute second bookable offence, three minutes after nodding the visitors in front.
But Radford popped unto level late on to give Matlock the least they deserved from a disappointing affair.
Matlock had the better of a first-half half devoid of clear scoring chances, and it would have needed something special to break the deadlock.
Matlock came close on 12 minutes when Danny Holland, chased a seemingly lost cause down the right to cross low for Cecil Nyoni who stabbed wide from eight yards.
The next chance of a stale half did not come until the 40th minute when Holland turned sweetly on the edge of the penalty box to fiercely lash a low shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Soon after the break Shaun Tuton turned sharply out on the right to fire across the face of the goal from a narrow angle before the Bucks had their best spell culminating in their goal.
Kennedy did well to push aside Craig King’s low free-kick and from the corner the goalkeeper did equally well to turn away Matt Thornhill’s header.
But on the hour Morris steered a header from substitute James Handley’s cross low past Kennedy to edge the Bucks in front.
That proved to be his last contribution though as three minutes later he obstructed Liam Needham 20 yards from the Buxton goal and off he went for first use of the shower having been booked for dissent in the first-half.
James Ashmore’s tame free-kick was easily held by veteran goalkeeper Andy Warrington.
From then on Matlock struggled to make their extra man count. Substitute Corey Gregory headed a Radford cross over the bar in the 74th minute and with time running out, it looked as if Buxton would hold out.
But Warrington spilled a well-struck shot from substitute Massiah McDonald and Radford, up supporting his colleagues from full-back, slammed in the loose ball to set up what could have been a tense finale when five minutes of added time were played, but both sides held out and bragging rights in Derbyshire would go to Matlock as the highest placed club in the county.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt (Corey Gregory 61) 3 Jack Broadhead 4 Martin Foster (Massiah McDonald 57) 5 Oscar Radford 6 Adam Yates 7 Liam Needham 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland 10 Shaun Tuton 11 Cecil Nyoni (Daryll Thomas 75) Unused subs: Alex Bradshaw, Matty Leese
Buxton: 1 Andy Warrington 2 Neil Stevens 3 Jamie Green (James Handley 49) 4 Josh Davies 5 Ash Palmer 6 Sam Brooks 7 Matt Thornhill 8 Derek Niven 9 Mark Reed (Tim Ryan 90) 10 Lee Morris 11 Craig King
Ref: D Plowright
Best Gladiator: Jack Broadhead
By Ian Richardson