WORKINGTON 1-3 MATLOCK TOWN
Energy, determination and desire were three key factors in Matlock continuing their best FA Cup run for 27 years when they reached the First Round Proper as they secured a fine replay victory in their long trek to West Cumbria on Tuesday night.
Altrincham, renowned FA Cup giant killers but presently struggling in National League North now host Matlock in the final qualifying round on Saturday week. Could FA Cup glory be just a whisker away?
On the evidence of their trip to Borough Park, Matlock fans should be encouraged. It was a true gladiatorial and battling performance and although Workington ensured that Matlock did not have things all their own way, the visitors’ spirit, mixed with some intelligent play wore the Reds down. The visitors forged three goals in front through Ted Cribley, Dwayne Wiley and a Michael Williams penalty, David Symington making sure Workington had something to show for their efforts as the clock ticked down.
Marcus Dinanga replaced Laurie Wilson in the solitary change to the Gladiators line up from Saturday, Williams dropping back into midfield once again.
Matlock created the first chance in only four minutes, a Williams shot being deflected wide, Marc Newsham creating the opening.
Winger Conor Tinnion found himself in space on the left but dragged his shot beyond the far post before in the next breath, home goalkeeper Aaron Taylor was pleased to knock away a low Cribley effort with his legs.
Workington then had their most dangerous spell of the contest and both Tom Kilifin and Joe McGee might have done better than shoot off target in quick succession. At this stage Matlock could not retain possession in forward positions for long enough to ease the flow towards their goal, but they defended with authority, Phil Barnes marshalling an excellent back line and Joe Doyle-Charles being a terrier in the way he closed attacks down in the final third.
Crucially though Matlock broke quickly to take a crucial 42nd minute lead, Cribley collecting the ball on the left to cut in and see his crisp drive catch a defender, but it would have had enough power and accuracy anyway to beat the diving Taylor to his left.
Their joy increased just seven minutes after the restart after shots from Newsham and Williams were charged down forcing a corner on the right. Cribley’s delivery to the near post and some fifteen yards out fooled the hosts and WILEY guided a fine volley into the net, Taylor getting a hand to it but again the finish was too firmly struck for the goalkeeper to save.
As expected in front of their home crowd of 562, the Reds refused to lie down, but Matlock continued to be more than equal to the task.
Barnes saved superbly from Symington before Jake Green hacked clear after a scramble in the box and a couple of firmly driven centres from the right caused concern but more and more it looked as if deservedly it would be Matlock’s night.
That thought was confirmed eight minutes from time when substitute Curtis Morrison was barged down by Kyle May and WILLIAMS showed Taylor and Workington no mercy, emphatically slamming the penalty home for the Gladiators third.
SYMINGTON beat Barnes low to his right in the 88th minute but it was clearly a case of too little, too late for Workington.
Despite close to eight minutes of stoppage time, Matlock stood their ground and took their total in prize money from this season’s competition to a healthy £15,000, the latest windfall being £7500.
WORKINGTON: 1 Aaron Taylor 2 Jacob Simpson 3 Sam Smith 4 Kyle May 5 Matthew Douglas 6 James Earl (14 Phil McLuckie 48) 7 David Symington 8 Robert Wilson 9 Tom Kilifin (12 Nathan Waterston 57) 10 Joe McGee 11 Conor Tinnion Subs not used: 15 Jamie Bethwaite 16 Callum Henderson 17 Tom Fowler 18 Robbie Hebson
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden 3 Jake Green 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates (14 Nico de Girolamo 90) 6 Dwayne Wiley 7 Niall McManus (17 Jamie Yates 66) 8 Michael Williams 9 Marc Newsham (16 Curtis Morrison 71) 10 Marcus Dinanga 11 Ted Cribley Subs not used: 12 Laurie Wilson 15 Alex Pursehouse 18 Arron Jameson
REFEREE: A Herczeg (Tyne and Wear) ATTENDANCE: 562 BEST GLADIATOR: Adam Yates