Basford United 0-2 Matlock Town
Matlock comfortably negotiated a potential banana skin of a tie to come away from Greenwich Avenue £3000 richer and in doing so secured a place in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
Second half goals from Danny Holland and substitute Lavelle White did the trick and apart from a dodgy opening few minutes when the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division new boys forced the pace, it was virtually plain sailing for Matlock who could and should have won by a more emphatic margin.
Skipper Liam Needham, recovered from injury, replaced Gareth Davies in midfield for the one change in the side beaten by Chorley four days earlier. Lee Featherstone featured for the first time this season, as one of the seven permitted substitutes. Basford included former Gladiator T J Nightingale in attack alongside former Stoke City and Aston Villa striker Martin Carruthers while Lee Morris, once of Sheffield United and Derby County, was on the bench.
Basford began well with Cashel Walters firing a yard wide before two dangerous crosses from the hosts needed clearing by Micky Harcourt and Oscar Radford.
But Matlock weathered the early storm and went on to dominate the rest of the clash, playing some excellent football, a point acknowledged by Carruthers afterwards, who commented that “Matlock passed us to death.”
It took some considerable time for that dominance to bear fruit though and there was a nagging doubt amongst some Town followers in the 169 crowd that it could turn out to be one of those days.
That view had particular credence on 14 minutes when Harcourt crossed from the right and Needham’s header came out off the underside of the bar, hit goalkeeper Alesandro Barcherini on his back, and still stayed out!
Eight minutes later Basford defended stoutly to keep out strikes from James Ashmore and Darryl Thomas before Lewis McMahon drove wide when well placed. The supporting Harcourt fired a couple of feet past Barherini’s right hand upright with Holland then going similarly close as the pressure was maintained. Then another fine chance went begging with McMahon off target.
If Matlock had brought their shooting boots with them, the tie would have been convincingly won by the interval which arrived with Ashmore having driven wide and joe Leesley’s intelligent overhead effort narrowly clearing the bar.
The Gladiators had the slope in their favour for the second half which began with Leesley dragging his shot past the far post and Barcherini blocking from Thomas.
But the goal Matlock had threatened finally came after 56 minutes when Leesley released Thomas whose low cross from the left was meat and drink for HOLLAND to push his second goal of the season into the vacant net.
It came following a beautifully constructed move and Ashmore might have doubled the lead from more fine approach play, this time on the right, his shot flashing past an upright.
In the main Basford had defended tidily in spite of constantly being pulled apart by Matlock’s crisp passing and movement, but they nearly presented a second goal on a plate for the visitors on 70 minutes, losing possession from a throw in but Thomas lifted his shot too high.
It was left to WHITE to delicately divert Ashmore’s cross from the right just inside the back post to finally clinch Matlock’s place in the next round with six minutes remaining.
In a rare Basford attack a diving header from Carruthers flew comfortably wide, but Matlock had done their job, although the match should have been easily won long before White made sure.
BASFORD UNITED: 1 Alesandro Barcherini 2 David Boafo 3 Jack Davies (12 Jermaine Hollis 54) 4 Kieron Kenton-Bradshaw 5 Robert McCormack, 6 Wayne Jones 7 Theo Smith 8 Martin Holt 9 Martin Carruthers 10 T J Nightingale 11 Cashel Walters (14 Lee Morris 79) OTHER SUBS 15 Jamie Walker 16 Courtney Hastings 17 Curtis McDonald
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Joe Leesley 4 Martin Foster (12 Anthony Griffiths-Junior 85) 5 David Haggerty 6 Oscar Radford 7 Liam Needham 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland (18 Jordan Snodin 90) 10 Lewis McMahon 11 Darryl Thomas (15 Lavelle White 79) OTHER SUBS: 14 Lee Featherstone 16 Liam Gaughan 17 Matty Leese 19 Will Dennis
REFEREE: Mr M Parker–Wakefield ATTENDANCE:169 BEST GLADIATOR: Joe Leesley