Atherton Collieries fell to a third consecutive home defeat following too many wasted chances against Matlock Town. The Black & Whites dominated the first half, and squandered a clear opportunity to take the lead after fifteen minutes.
Fantastic play from Marcus Cusani on the right flank led to a perfect cross to Aaron Smith in the 6-yard box, which was sent high and wide with an open goal there for the taking.
Ollie Brown dominated the game at full back, making multiple chances with crosses from the right flank, but the hosts were punished for being unable to find the finishing touch.
Inevitably, Matlock took the lead against the run of play. 'Keeper Nico Defreitas-Hansen was second to a 50/50 ball with forward Alex Wiles, who scrambled the ball towards the goalmouth. Despite a late clearance from Adam Rooney, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line.
Having absorbed the Colls pressure first half, Matlock took a foothold after the interval, reducing the game to a series of half chances.
A major flash point came with minutes remaining. As the ball rolled out of play on the right wing, Reece Kendall launched a late & high elbow towards Ollie Brown on the byline, sending the fullback crashing into the advertising hoardings.
Despite infuriated shouts for what many viewed as a clear red card, the referee remained inscrutable, whilst Brown departed the pitch injured.
Matlock departed with an ultimately deserved win, punishing the hosts for a wasteful first half. Colls: Nico Defreitas-Hansen, Ollie Brown (Luke Nicholls '88), Joel Amado, Adam Rooney (Finlay Lockett '75), Danny Lafferty, Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Oli Roberts (Jay Fitzmartin '64), Jack Lenehan, Scott Bakkor, Aaron Smith, Marcus Cusani - Unused Subs: Arran Pettifer, Evan Cunningham Man of the Match: Aaron Smith, sponsored by MPD Built Environment Consultants