Matlock’s ten men battled magnificently to earn a point against play-off chasing Nantwich Town on Tuesday night and could easily have won the game.
A scrambled goal had put the Gladiators in front on 37 minutes, but after Nicky Travis was involved in a clash with Matty Kosylo five minutes later and was sent off, Kosylo earned the Dabbers a point early in the second-half.
Mark Hume’s men defended brilliantly and caused Nantwich more problems than they were perhaps expecting when they attacked.
There were excellent performances all over the field but centre backs Adam Yates and Tom Burgin were faultless, Burgin on more than one occasion harming himself after tremendous challenges and blocks.
Nantwich’s Josh Hancock saw well struck efforts pass firstly too high and then wide in the opening five minutes.
Joel Purkiss shot just wide for the hosts after 20 minutes before Burgin produced a superb interception to deny Liam Shotton a shooting chance.
Matthew Bell’s shot was always rising as he met a left wing centre from Lewis Short before a Matlock’s took the lead from a corner as with Yates, Burgin and Purkiss in the mix, it was Purkiss who was given the goal although Nantwich goalkeeper Terry Smith might have managed the final touch.
The red card for Travis soon followed for striking out at Kosylo with allegations that Kosylo had headbutted the Matlock midfielder first and being disappointingly missed by referee Eddie Pidduck and his assistants.
It was a blow for the hosts as Nantwich soon equalised early in the second-half, Kosylo rubbing salt into Matlock’s wounds by beating George Willis to a right wing corner to nod in from close range.
A fiercely hit strike from Mat Bailey flashed wide before Matlock too had chances, Wilson’s free-kick well saved, Nelthorpe shooting too high and sub Danny Holland glancing a header off the crossbar.
Ted Cribley effort’s was then kept out by Smith while at the other end Willis was equal to substitute Sean Cooke’s shot and a Bell effort fell wide before Shotton’s lifted Steve Jones’ centre high over the goal frame.
Matlock fully deserved their draw and were applauded off. Kosylo, meanwhile, attempted to pick a fight with Nelthorpe as the players left the pitch and tarnished his already damaged reputation even further by making abusive hand gestures to the crowd as he signed off for the night.
Matlock: Willis, Gaughan, Nelthorpe, Wilson, Yates, Burgin, Cribley, Needham, Purkiss (Holland 65), McManus, Travis. Subs not used: Dawes, Harcourt, Maxfield, Pugh.
Nantwich: Smith, White, Short, Harrison, Bailey, Osbourne (Cooke 65), Kosylo, Hall (Jones 75), Shotton, Bell, Hancock. Subs not used: Borzynski, Moran, Griggs.
Ref: E Pidduck
Best Gladiator: Tom Burgin