Two sides chasing a NPL Premier play-off place battled it out in a game that never reached great heights in terms of excitement as defences held sway, with neither side able to break the deadlock on a glorious sunny afternoon at the Flamingo Land Stadium.
Matlock made a bright start, Simon Heslop blocking a stinging shot from Osebi Abadaki, and Kieran Glynn deflecting a strike from Jesurun Uchebulam round the post, writes Steve Adamson.
In Boro‘s first attack, Will Thornton fired over following a long throw into the area by Ash Jackson.
Reece Kendall hoisted a shot over for Matlock, then Bailey Gooda made a great tackle on Uchebulam just as he was about to shoot.
Kieran Glynn sent two terrific through-balls, the first, towards Will Jarvis, saw keeper Joe Young race out to kick clear, then in Boro’s best chance of the game on 26 minutes, Cam Wilson failed to control the ball when he was one-on-one with the keeper.
Matlock had the ball in the net on 28 minutes when a free kick on the left from Abadaki was turned in by former Boro centre-back Ryan Qualter, who had strayed offside, then Boro’s Will Thornton, who had a terrific game, had a shot blocked from a Ryan Watson corner.
Matlock had shaded possession in the first half, but Boro began the second half on top, and Watson played a ball forward to Wilson, who passed to Ash Jackson, and he curled a shot just wide, while Watson drove a free-kick from 25 yards into the Matlock wall.
The visitors created a couple of chances, with Jackson scrambling the ball clear following a free-kick into the area on the hour, and Watson charging down a strike from Uchebulam.
Matlock full-back Kendall headed a long throw from Jackson clear, before the only real save of the entire game on 67 minutes, when a low shot from Abadaki was saved at his near post by Boro keeper Ryan Whitley, who also dealt comfortably with a couple of dangerous high balls into his area.
As the game wore on, a repeat of the goalless draw at Matlock in January looked increasingly likely, although a corner from Watson bobbled about in the Matlock area, before Jake Day’s shot was blocked, a Watson corner was headed clear by Kendall, and Michael Coulson went down when challenging for a cross from Glynn, but appeals for a foul were rejected by the referee.
Late on, Jarvis, who had a quiet game, curled a shot wide, Day blazed over and a back-header from Thornton flashed past the post, then in stoppage time, Jackson sent over a cross, and Day’s header looped into the arms of keeper Young, as Boro extended their unbeaten run to 16 games, while Matlock kept their first clean-sheet for seven games.
Thornton, Gooda, Watson and Jackson all impressed for Boro, and Glynn showed flashes of brilliance, but there was little goal threat, and visiting keeper Joe Young didn’t have a save to make all afternoon, but even without playing well, Boro continue to grind out results, and their promotion challenge is still firmly on track.
BORO: Whitley, Watson, Jackson, Heslop (Weledji 77), Thornton, Gooda, Plant (Day 61), Jarvis, Colville, Glynn, Wilson (Coulson 61)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Will Thornton