Match report - Stamford 1-0 Matlock Town

An easily-forgettable game was settled after 21 minutes when Ryan Robbins netted to give the hosts a vital three points in their battle against the drop.

Matlock’s night was made worse with Danny Holland’s sending off 13 minutes later following an altercation with Daniels’ central defender Alvin Jarvis.

The incident left a sour taste in the mouth as it was felt by the Matlock contingent that if one player had to go, then certainly the other should have joined him.

That left Matlock’s task all the more difficult and their play-off hopes have definitely gone, with their season in danger of disintegrating completely.

Stamford though never made the most of their extra man, mostly due to tenacity on the Gladiators part.

The problem for Matlock was a distinct lack of a cutting edge in the final third. They matched the hosts and arguably had the best of most of the encounter, but particularly after Holland’s dismissal, they never seriously looked like saving the game.

On the balance of the game a scoreless draw would have been fair.

With David Haggerty on the sick list, Matlock reorganised with Micky Harcourt partnering Adam Yates in central defence, with the one change being Corey Gregory coming in for Haggerty.

James Ashmore switched to right back as Gregory slotted into the midfield.

Matlock always looked the more skilful in midfield as Stamford opted for the long ball game, with too many punts forward finding Jon Kennedy.

An off-balance Holland drove wide of the near post on seven minutes before on 19, an ambitious effort from Robbins flashed wide of Kennedy’s left hand post.

But Robbins then broke the deadlock with Haggerty’s height and strength probably being a missing factor as the ball bounced around the Matlock box from a long throw on the right and he shot low past Kennedy.

Holland’s red card was the only other talking point in a shapeless first-half with the second 45 minutes also lacking any real quality.

As Holland and Jarvis tangled on the edge of the Stamford penalty box, Holland reacted identically after being pushed in the face by Jarvis. The assistant flagged furiously with Holland being punished, and Jarvis laughing at the Matlock fans as Holland trudged off.

There was no improvement in entertainment value after the interval.

Neither side had a meaningful shot on target, although Matlock seemed to have the extra quality until the ball reached the final third.

But Daryll Thomas and Lavell White lacked the strength to disturb the hosts who seemed content to soak up the pressure and try to hit the Gladiators on the break.

Nabil Sharriff had a shot well blocked on the edge of the box while for Town, Joe Leesley dragged an effort wide of the near post before skipper Liam Needham lifted a 20-yarder high over the bar, the game fizzling out to complete a frustrating few days for Mark Atkins’ men.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stamford: 1 Will Jones 2 Lewis Carr 3 Jason Field 4 Alvin Jarvis 5 Richard Jones 6 Emeka Nwadike 7 Dan Lawlor 8 Ashley Robinson (Charlie Binns 51) 9 Jordan Smith 10 Nabil Shariff 11 Ryan Robbins (Shawn Richards 75) Unused subs: Jon Challinor, Jack Ashton, John Feetham

Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley (Liam Gaughan 90) 4 Martin Foster 5 Corey Gregory (Cecil Nyoni 63) 6 Adam Yates 7 Liam Needham 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland 10 Daryll Thomas 11 Lavell White Unused subs: Alex Bradshaw, Matty Leese

Att: 184 Ref: D Plowright Best Gladiator: Joe Leesley