Ilkeston 1 – 2 Matlock Town
Matlock made hard work of progressing in the Derbyshire Senior Cup against a youthful Robins side whose average age was just 18 years old .
They had to recover from an interval deficit after Luis Rose had put the hosts in front, but superb goals from Jamie Yates and Ted Cribley ensured Matlock’s safe but not altogether comfortable passage to the last eight.
Credit must go to the Robins’ youngsters who as the first half progressed grew in confidence leading to Matlock joint manager Glenn Kirkwood admitting that the Gladiators were given “a rocket” at half time.
Whatever was said did the trick and although Ilkeston ‘s spirit kept them in contention, in the end the more accomplished team won.
Matlock made the better start with Marc Newsham, recalled with Curtis Morrison having returned to Chesterfield, seeing his header from a Jamie Yates cross fingertipped over the bar by Ross Durrant who then did well to cut out a low cross by Cribley.
But Ilkeston weathered the early storm in a strange darkened atmosphere with the floodlights fading and flickering like disco lights, and were easily giving as good as they were receiving when ROSE ran down the inside left channel to punish a sleeping Matlock defence and hook a fine eighteen yard shot over Phil Barnes to give the Robins a 16th minute lead.
Ilkeston’s youthful exuberance and workrate saw Matlock struggle to find any fluency, the Gladiators being hit by the 19th minute withdrawal of Dwayne Wiley with a hamstring complaint, meaning that Kevin Grocott moved from full back to partner Nico de Girolamo in central defence, Adam Yates being absent due to the impending arrival of his first child.
Then Joe Doyle-Charles was booked for a late tackle on his first return to the New Manor Ground. Latest signing Cameron Johnson, partnering Marc Newsham in attack, was showing encouraging signs of pace and it needed a well timed and vital block from Durrant to prevent his well struck shot from finding the target on 35 minutes.
Tom Gamblem failed to make the most of a promising free kick situation twenty yards out by curling harmlessly wide five minutes later before on the stroke of half time it was again Johnson threatening, his low shot being booted off the line with Durrant beaten.
But YATES struck a sublime twenty two yards free kick which curled majestically into the corner with Durrant convincingly beaten to haul the Gladiators level seven minutes into the second half and now it was game on.
Matlock’s performance improved considerably but still they could not fire on all cylinders. Degirolamo nodded wide from a corner shortly after the equaliser before the introduction of both Niall McManus and Marcus Dinanga made Matlock infinitely more dangerous.
McManus ran his socks off down the right and was a constant menace but the winning goal on 67 minutes came from the opposite flank as CRIBLEY, who had been generally well shackled by Conor Walters, found space and curled a peach of a twenty five yard shot beyond Durrant, the goalkeeper diving but only clasping thin air as the ball nestled in the back of his net.
The Gladiators controlled much of the remainder of the contest without emphatically stamping their authority on proceedings. Ilkeston continued to battle, one moment of indecision in the Gladiators rearguard leading to a potentially dangerous corner. But that threat quickly evaporated through a poor delivery which was easily cleared.
For once Matlock’s game management was not quite up to its usual standard, the visitors squandering possession a little too often for comfort by searching for the killer pass when a more simple option was available.
Towards the end Durrant stood up well to beat away a fierce Dinanga strike before close to the final whistle, a weaving run from Cribley from the touchline to the six yard box ended with his shot rebounding off a post and being hacked clear.
Ilkeston deserve credit for making a game of it, they have some promising youngsters who with the odd old head around them, will turn out to be good players at NPL level or above.
Matlock know they can play better, but they came out on top and would have settled for a win by any margin beforehand.
ILKESTON: 1 Ross Durrant 2 Conor Walters 3 Tom Gamblen (16 Tehyan Tyrell 78) 4 Danny Gordon 5 Matt Baker 6 Jaylon Bather 7 Luis Rose (14 Paul Douglas 84) 8 Keenan Meakin (15 Reid Owen 63) 9 Brandon Clarke 10 Ben Morris 11 Haydn Goddard Sub not used: 12 Charlie Scanlon
MATLOCK TOWN: 1Phil Barnes 2 Liam Marsden (12 Niall McManus 57) 3 Kevin Grocott 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Nico Degirolamo 6 Dwayne Wiley (14 Jake Green 19) 7 Jamie Yates 8 Michael Williams 9 Marc Newsham 10 Cameron Johnson (15 Marcus Dinanga 58) 11 Ted Cribley -only 3 subs named.
REFEREE: Tim Walker (Belper) ATTENDANCE: 132 BEST GLADIATOR: Jamie Yates BEST ROBIN: Jaylon Bather