REPORT: Workington 4-1 Matlock Town

Charlie Dawes got Matlock's goal just before half-time.
Charlie Dawes got Matlock's goal just before half-time.

This was a tale of the two number nines, one having a feast, the other a famine.

Scott Allison showed Matlock, and on this night in particular, Joel Purkiss, how to take chances and win games.

Allison hit all four Reds goals and was the difference between the sides as Purkiss could and perhaps should have finished with at least a hat-trick himself, but all Matlock could muster in reply was a fine Charlie Dawes strike which was a poor return, especially considering their second-half dominance.

So a 4-1 margin was incredibly harsh on the Gladiators, but with poor defending also thrown into the equation, this Borough Park clash probably summed up Matlock’s season.

A 400-mile round trek on a Tuesday night with little preparation time is not ideal and sensing that, Workington went for the early kill.

But Matlock remained in contention despite a heart stopping moment in the eighth minute when Micky Harcourt tripped Allison a couple of yards outside of the penalty box.

Fortunately referee Hodskinson only produced a yellow card when others might have shown red given it looked to be a decent goalscoring chance. George Willis kept out Connor Tinnion’s free-kick with a fine stop to his right.

Joe McGee and Tinnion fired wide from distance and Harcourt glanced a Purkiss free-kick from the right wide before a rush of goals came in the final 12 minutes of the opening half.

Willis saved superbly from McGee but from the corner which was taken swiftly by McGee, Allison was at the far post to score with a textbook header.

Shortly afterwards a Jacob Simpson cross was stabbed wide by Gareth Arnison but a second goal soon arrived when Ben Algar was booked for holding McGee and Allison was free to steer home on 39 minutes.

Matlock responded with the goal of the game within two minutes as Dawes curled a low 20-yard drive inside goalkeeper Alex Mitchell’s left hand post and 90 seconds afterwards, Matlock ought to have been on level terms when Purkiss went through one-on-one but Mitchell did well to block the shot.

It turned out to be a pivotal moment as instead of reaching the interval all square at 2-2, Matlock went in 3-1 down as Workington swept straight downfield again for Algar to clumsily trip Tinnion and Allison did the rest to complete a quickfire hat-trick from the spot.

Matlock gave it a good go in the second-half, Purkiss wasting a chance and then Jordan Ball seeing a goal ruled out for offside.

Then Purkiss came eyeball to eyeball with Mitchell once more and again it was the keeper who came out on top with another fine block, a carbon copy of the first-half incident.

Substitute Jack Siddall and then Harcourt blasted fiercely off target before Workington’s highly flattering three-goal margin of victory was confirmed with a minute remaining.

A probing run and the resultant low cross from Simpson caused havoc in the Matlock box with neither Willis nor a defender taking control and the ball dropped kindly for Allison to toe poke home the loose ball.

Matlock had played some excellent football as Workington acknowledged but generosity at both ends proved to be their painful undoing.

Workington: Mitchell, Simpson, Smith, May (Bethwaite 84), Calvert, Wilson, McGee, Hammell (Hebson 69), Allison, Arnison (Tymon 64), Tinnion. Subs not used: Studholme, Jamieson

Matlock: Willis, Paling, Algar (McManus 44), Cribley, Yates, Harcourt, Ball, Needham, Purkiss, Holland (Siddall 57), Dawes (Gaughan 71). Subs not used: Bartle, Hume

Ref: P Hodskinson (Preston)

Att: 394

Star Gladiator: Ted Cribley