This result has the alarm bells ringing loudly around the Autoworld Arena as Matlock seem to be doing their level best to stay deep in the relegation dogfight.
Curzon are a strong side chasing a second successive promotion so for Matlock to give them a huge helping hand made their task ludicrously easier. The Gladiators therefore contributed greatly to their own downfall.
It was schoolboy defending from Matlock and Curzon could scarcely have believed their luck. The visitors had all three goals handed to them on a plate, they would not refuse such good tidings,
Manager Mark Hume had not taken his place in the dug out when Matlock were behind. It took just 18 seconds for the first almighty mix-up as Muhammed Sabo and Jon Kennedy got in one another’s way to meet a routine forward ball. Kennedy’s scuffed clearance went straight to Ashley Stott who calmly picked his spot into the empty net from the edge of the box.
Matlock dominated the next 30 minutes or so but again lacked that vital cutting edge.
Jamie McDonagh struck a post in the third minute bit that was just about as close as the Gladiators came. When under pressure Curzon defended stoutly and with authority.
McDonagh’s second attempt was deflected wide as was an Otis Khan shot, whilst at the other end a strike from Jordan Wright was too close for comfort as Curzon relieved the pressure.
They doubled their lead ten minutes before the break. Nobody picked up Daniel Shaw from Stott’s left wing corner and the defender was allowed virtually a free header which nestled in the top corner and that was game over.
Matlock were now rocking. For once, good defending from Sabo denied Wright a run from shooting after a run from deep and in the last minute of the half, Stott elected to pass towards Niall Cummins when a shot might have inflicted more pain on the hosts.
Matlock fans were hoping for a quick second-half response from their side, but another defensive howler just three minutes after the resumption killed off any faint hopes of a recovery.
Sabo kicked thin air as he attempted to clear a routine cross from the right leaving Stott with the simple task of stabbing past Kennedy.
A McDonagh shot was pushed away by goalkeeper Hakan Burton but Curzon were now firmly in the driving seat.
Hume made a double change bringing on Holland and new signing Nicky Travis for Josh Meade and Niall McManus. Travis looked busy and showed signs of quality but it was now a case of damage limitation for Matlock.
Cribley had a goal disallowed for offside and Travis saw a well struck effort deflected behind but the danger always looked more potent at the other end, Kennedy denying Ryan Brooke late on but the damage had been done.
So after a fantastic February for Town it’s been a more sobering March with just four points from six matches and no goals scored in any of their four Saturday games in the month.
Results elsewhere went against Matlock and it pumps up the pressure on them to perform with a huge last five games to come, including a pivotal Easter programme which will not be easy.
Saturday, March 28, 2015:
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Oscar Radford 4 Josh Meade (Nicky Travis 57) 5 Muhammed Sabo (Adam Yates 71) 6 Julian Banton 7 Ted Cribley 8 Liam Needham 9 Jamie McDonagh 10 Otis Khan 11 Niall McManus. Subs not used: Scott Maxfield, Liam Gaughan
Curzon: 1 Hakan Burton 2 Chris Rowney 3 Darren Thornton 4 Jonathan Hunt (Lee Pugh 75) 5 Daniel Shaw 6 Alex Brown 7 Jordan Wright (Andrew Fitzgerald 79) 8 Sam Walker 9 Niall Cummins (Ryan Brooke 46) 10 Ashley Stott 11 Joe Guest. Subs not used: Luke Horrocks, Thomas Souvemanlen
Att: 290 Ref: J Clark (Walsall)
Star Gladiator: Liam Needham