Matlock Town’s FA Cup dream is still very much alive following Tuesday night’s excellent 3-1 replay win at Workington to grant them a trip to Altrincham in the 4th Qualifying Round a week on Saturday.

The Robins stand between Matlock and a coveted place in the First Round Proper, a stage they last reached in 1989/90 when they lost at Scunthorpe United.

Matlock and the Reds drew 1-1 at the DCJ Group Insurance Arena in the first attempt to settle the tie. Workington were perhaps slight favourites with home advantage and Matlock facing a 400 mile round trip in the replay.

Joint managers Craig Hopkins praised his players on the long coach journey home.

“It was a brilliant win” said a beaming Hopkins on the long coach journey home. “We were okay in the first half but played really well in the second half. We scored our goals at good times but also defended extremely well, the back five including Barnesy were outstanding. We passed it better in the second half and got what we deserved against a very good side.”

Hopkins added that the players were “desperate to win.”

“That determination possibly affected our performance on Saturday when we weren’t at our best but really wanted to do well for the club and the fans. But we could sense the lads still really wanted it in the run up to Tuesday when they were a bit more relaxed. We’ve a set of very honest lads who work really hard for each other, they enjoy being together, not only on a matchday but they also go out together,”

Midfielder Ted Cribley, one of Matlock’s most consistent performers so far this term, gave everyone connected with the Gladiators a boost by signing a contract prior to Saturday’s match.

“He’s enjoying his football and we’re delighted with him. The way we’re playing really suits him” said Hopkins.

The Altrincham tie is now being “put on the back burner” with Matlock having two important league games first.

On Saturday they retrace their steps to Borough Park to take on the Reds for a third successive game before welcoming Blyth Spartans to the DCJ Group Insurance Arena on Tuesday night.

“We’ll enjoy last Tuesday’s win but come Wednesday morning our thoughts will change to Saturday and how we can get the better of Workington. Playing them three times like this is how it is, we know it’ll be tough for they’re a good side but maybe they are saying the same about us” Hopkins explained.

“The league is our priority, the cup is a bonus bit last Tuesday was special. All of the players and ourselves would like to thank the fans who made that long journey on a Tuesday night to support us, brilliant, it’s really really appreciated.”

Adam Yates came off with a slight knock during stoppage time at the end of the game but Matlock expect him to be leading them again as thy report a clean bill of health for the weekend.

Striker Curtis Morrison made his debut as a substitute on Saturday, nearly scored a dramatic winner before earning the penalty for Matlock’s final goal in the replay.

Morrison, 19 last Sunday, is on a youth loan from Chesterfield having been given his first professional contract by the Spireites in the summer. First eam appearances as a substitute followed in early season games at Rochdale and Shrewsbury before he had a spell on loan at National League North Gainsborough Trinity.

“He gives us another option up front, he’s quick,very very highly rated and we like what we’ve seen so far” said Hopkins.

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Matlock will be organising transport to the Altrincham tie leaving the DCJ Group Insurance Arena at 12 noon on October 15. To book your place, ring Elaine in the Club Shop (01629 583866), Tom Wright on 07850 065968 or visit the club shop at Tuesday’s home match against Blyth Spartans.

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Delighted Chairman Tom Wright heaped praise on Matlock’s management, coaching staff and players following Tuesday night’s FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round win at Workington.

“What a great battling performance from everyone involved” said Wright. “They all deserve all the credit that’s going, to sit four and a half hours on a coach after a day at work and produce a performance and result like that speaks volumes for their commitment to this football club, we’re all very proud of them. I’d urge our fans to get to Altrincham in their numbers and get behind the team, it’d be fantastic if we could make the First Round Proper and pull out a really plum tie but we have to deal with Altrincham first, so come on ,the players need and deserve your support which was fantastic last weekend in the Workington home game.”

IAN RICHARDSON

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