Matlock Town 1-2 Ilkeston FC
Matlock’s FA Cup journey was a short, but controversial one as Ilkeston eased through but only thanks to an 89th minute Rob Duffy goal at the Autoworld Arena last Saturday.
The hosts had led from the 10th minute thanks to splendid skill from Corey Gregory who provided a fine finish, with the tie then changing dramatically in the visitors favour just before the half time whistle.
It was difficult to comprehend how referee Robbie Dadley could find nearly six minutes of stoppage time when the trainer had been on just once, to David Haggerty in the 43rd minute, but right at the end of that over generous amount of added time, the Robins scored their fortuitous equalizer through Kane Richards, who spent a brief spell on loan at Matlock from Derby County two years ago.
From that point on, the Robins took control as an injury hit Matlock dropped increasingly deeper into their own half.
Joe Leesley, who suffered concussion in the midweek draw at FC United of Manchester, was not risked so Phil Roe, who has not trained fully since his foot injury in pre season, took his place at left back. Gregory came in for Leon Osborne in Matlock’s other change.
The two sides had fought out a goalless stalemate at the Autoworld Arena seven days earlier, Saturday’s tie began in more promising fashion as Rob Duffy forced Kennedy to knock away his fierce twenty yarder in only the 2nd minute.
Matlock’s first shot at goal was from a James Ashmore free kick five minutes later that was comfortably held by goalkeeper Jordan Smith.
But three minutes later Matlock drew first blood as Liam Needham sent Jason Stokes scampering down the right before the number seven’s cross to the far post was controlled supremely by GREGORY before a delicious volley off the post followed. lt was a splendid effort.
Both Josh Meade and Liam Needham had rushes of blood with long range efforts that went skywards over the bar before the Robins hacked clear a Danny Holland header from Needham’s pull back.
At the other end Kennedy was equal to a strike from distance by Che Adams, the ball coming to the Robins’ midfielder via a deflection off the referee.
Matlock were shading proceedings at this point but needed a second goal. Efforts from Holland and Meade were off target and a Stokes effort was charged down, but Matlock had to be wary of Ilkeston’s speed on the counter attack, one such moment coming when Adam Yates was forced to concede a corner from a Richards break down the right.
Richards might have done better than lift his finish too high after sidestepping Kennedy before Haggerty went down in a heap with a calf injury which forced him off.
With Matlock a man down, and the official’s watch seemingly on a go slow, Ilkeston levelled. Callum Chettle’s shot was going wide but it struck RICHARDS and the deflection left Jon Kennedy wrong footed as the ball spun over the line. The adage that luck can play it’s part in games certainly rang true here.
Leon Osborne replaced Haggerty meaning a reshuffle for Matlock with Adam Yates moving into central defence alongside Oscar Radford and Meade dropping to full back. Stokes also played deeper on the right and Ilkeston took over.
Duffy was a fraction away from converting a 51st minute free kick but the next chance fell to Matlock when Gregory’s shot narrowly missed the near post as it smashed into the side netting.
But Matlock rarely got forward in the second period as they were asked to defend for long periods. To their credit, in the main they defended well, Meade doing well to deny Richards and as a whole the defensive unit protected Kennedy for the most part.
Kennedy was not called into action until the 88th minute when Adams tried his luck from distance with a daisy cutter that the Matlock custodian pushed wide.
A Monday night replay looked on the cards until a tired pass from Ashmore, who was now filling in at left back due to the withdrawal of a ring rusty and tiring Roe, was collected by David Morgan. The play was switched intelligently to James Reid on the left whose cross to the back post found Adams who kept his cool to slide in DUFFY for an easy prod in.
On the balance of the play in the second half, Ilkeston deserved their win but they might not have found it as comfortable had the first half not ran over when they snatched that lucky leveller.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Adam Yates 3 Phil Roe (17 Alex Hewitt 65) 4 Corey Gregory (15 Sam Robinson 87) 5 David Haggerty (14 Leon Osborne 46) 6 Oscar Radford 7 Jason Stokes 8 Josh Meade 9 Danny Holland 10 James Ashmore, 11 Liam Needham. Other subs: 12 Lavell White 16 Matt Andrews 13 Matty Leese
ILKESTON: 1 Jordan Smith 2 Luke Shaw 3 James Reid 4 Akil Wright 5 Joe Maguire 6 Jack Lane 7 David Morgan 8 Callum Chettle (14 Michael Williams 90) 9 Rob Duffy 10 Kane Richards 11 Che Adams Other subs: 12 Matt Baker 15 Kieran Wallace 16 Ashley Hunter 17 Danny Gordon 18 Aaron Myles 19 Eli Bako
REFEREE: R Dadley (Bedworth) ATTENDANCE: 417 BEST GLADIATOR: Corey Gregory