Frickley Athletic have started their Evo-Stik Premier League campaign disappointingly with defeats in their first two games.
After losing 2-1 to Matlock Town on Saturday they went down 3-0 to Darlington 1883 at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park ground.
For Tuesday night’s game John Cyrus had not recovered from the injury that forced him off on Saturday so Luke Jeffs started alongside Jameel Ible in central defence with James Kay coming in at left-back. Zeph Thomas was fit enough to start having missed games with a hamstring injury.
Blues goalkeeper Sebastian Malkowski was called into action in the fourth minute when he was forced to dive full length to push away a low free-kick from Tom Portas.
Frickley responded with Brad Dockerty having a good run down the left before cutting into the box only to see his low shot saved by Peter Jameson.
Dockerty was involved again seven minutes later when he picked the ball up 35 yards out on the left before advancing towards goal and having his angled shot pushed away by Jameson.
However, Darlington took the lead on 23 minutes when Nathan Cartman fed Portas inside the box and he fired a low angled shot past Malkowski.
The Blues should have equalised a minute later when Jameson could only push a cross from the right into the path of Thomas 15 yards out but his first time shot was cleared off the line by a defender and Royale Johnson’s follow up shot was also blocked.
The hosts extended their lead in the 33rd minute when a half cleared corner was played back in by Portas and flicked on by Stephen Thompson for Cartman to knock past Malkowski from 12 yards.
The Blues were incensed that the goal was allowed to stand with Cartman appearing to be well offside when the ball was played back in to him.
Kay almost presented Darlington with a third goal when his short back pass let in Graeme Armstrong but Malkowski blocked his effort.
Frickley tried to take the game to Darlington more in the second half and Ible headed a Kay free-kick just wide of the far post on 50 minutes.
A slip by Ible in the tricky wet conditions let in Adam Mitchell but Malkowski saved well and the keeper was called into action again on 62 minutes, saving an angled shot from Cartman.
Tyler Williams replaced Thomas on 67 minutes with Hinsley moving up front and within three minutes Hinsley had the ball in the net only to be ruled out for offside.
Luke Hornsey collected a pass from Williams on the edge of the box on 81 minutes and hit a fierce angled shot that Jameson let slip through his hands but he was fortunate enough that the ball just cleared the crossbar.
The home side wrapped the game up in the 83rd minute when a corner from the Darlington left fell kindly for Kevin Burgess to fire into the roof of the net from six yards.
Frickley Athletic: Malkowski, Parkinson, Kay, Hornsey, Jeffs, Ible, Hinsley, Lenighan, Johnson, Thomas (Williams 67), Dockerty.
Frickley suffered opening day heartbreak as they conceded two goals in the last five minutes to lose 2-1 at home to Matlock Town.
Karl Rose’s men looked set to get their Evo-Stik Premier League campaign off to a winning start when Jameel Ible put them ahead with 13 minutes remaining, but they were left stunned as their visitors from Derbyshire turned the game round in dramatic style late on.
The Blues were boosted by Polish goalkeeper Sebastian Malkowski signing and receiving international clearance and midfielder Simon Lenighan putting pen to paper for the club prior to Saturday’s game.
John Cyrus and Brad Dockerty were also fit to start after missing recent pre-season games through injury, but new striker Zeph Thomas missed out through injury dual registered Connor Bower was unavailable.
The first half was largely devoid of goalmouth action although Luke Hornsey headed wide at the far post from a Luke Jeffs cross in the 16th minute while three minutes later Ted Cribley scuffed an 18-yard shot straight at Malkowski.
On the half-hour Jeffs and Lenighan got in each other’s way trying to head a loose ball on the edge of the Frickley box and the ball fell kindly for Ben Algar, but Malkowski blocked Algar’s 15-yard shot with his legs then comfortably collected Danny Holland’s follow-up shot.
A Jeffs free-kick caused mayhem in the Matlock box which ended with Luke Hornsey’s scuffed shot from eight yards out being deflected for a corner.
Four minutes into the second half Macaulay Parkinson sent Royale Johnson clear, but his attempted lob from 20 yards was collected by Lewis King.
Matlock enjoyed a few half chances with Liam Needham miskicking straight to Malkowski from 15 yards in the 57th minute and the same player firing over from the edge of the box a minute later.
Cribley volleyed wide from 20 yards then Holland dispossessed Cyrus just outside the Blues’ box, allowing Niall McManus a clear shot, but Malkowski saved with his legs.
The visitors had a glorious chance on 66 minutes when McManus held off Parkinson as he latched onto a long ball on the edge of the box, but his first time shot clipped the outside of the right hand post.
The Blues responded with Dockerty making space for himself 25 yards out before shooting wide and they took the lead on 77 minutes.
Substitute James Kay whipped over a free-kick from the right which Ible met with a thunderous header into the roof of the net from eight yards out.
From looking like gaining an unlikely victory the Blues pressed the self-destruct button, however, as Micky Harcourt fired a low 22-yard free-kick into the bottom right hand corner on 86 minutes to make it 1-1.
Then worse was to come in the 90th minute as Oscar Radford swung over a cross from the left and Joel Purkiss headed in at the far post to snatch a win that had looked so unlikely for Matlock.
Frickley Athletic: Malkowski, Parkinson, Jeffs, Hinsley, Cyrus (Kay 69), Ible, Hornsey, Lenighan, Johnson, Wood, Dockerty.