Stourbridge FC vs Matlock Town FC
War Memorial Athletic GroundNorthern Premier League
Matlock Town FC0
STOURBRIDGE 2-0 MATLOCK TOWN
Stourbridge scored a goal in each half to deservedly knock the Gladiators out of the FA Cup in what turned out to be a disappointing afternoon for the visitors.
A poor start in which they conceded early had Matlock always chasing the tie with the hosts securing their passage to the 3rd Qualifying Round with a second strike with thirteen minutes left.
So once again Matlock’s problems on the road surfaced after going into the game having scored fifteen goals in their last four matches against a Glassboys outfit who had lost their previous two Southern League Central Premier League matches.
Town boss Martin Carruthers made two changes from the team which had demolished Marske United seven days earlier with Reece Styche, against the club he left to join Matlock last season, coming in for Karl Demidh, missing through family commitments and Nat Crofts replacing the unwell Ewan Catt on the left.
It soon became apparent that Stourbridge, without being brilliant themselves, were still different gravy to the likes of Gainsborough and Marske as they pushed Matlock back in the opening exchanges. They forced two early corners which the Gladiators defence dealt with before a volley from Brendon Daniels dropped on to the top of the bar in the 6th minute. But three minutes later the pressure told as ALEX PROSSER blasted a shot goalwards from the right with Saul Deeney probably being disappointed he could not keep it out as it found the roof of the net. Deeney has saved Matlock on many occasions this season and would recover to be a firm last line of defence later in the contest.
Matlock slowly grew into the match with John Johnston breaking on the right, his low cross being gathered by goalkeeper Charlie Price at the near post. Then in the 19th minute Johnston broke again only to watch his shot deflect wide.
But the Glassboys came close to doubling their lead on 25 minutes when following a fine and incisive four man move, Niall Flint shot across the face of the goal.
The Gladiators then had their best spell of the game and were tremendously unlucky in the 33rd minute when Crofts set up Jonny Margetts who was generally well shackled by the home defence. He curled an intelligent shot over Price but the ball struck the bar and went out for a goal kick. Margetts was in again soon afterwards, although the angle was an acute one, he still managed a decent strike towards the far bottom corner which took a deflection for a fruitless corner.
Carruthers was angered soon afterwards and booked, With his side on the attack down the left, the ball clearly striking the hand of a home defender for what looked to be an obvious penalty but neither referee Sam Wesson nor his assistant reacted, so Matlock went in for their half time team talk still in the tie, needing to build on the encouragement received from their late rally and their one hundred plus cheering fans in the second period.
Unfortunately that recovery failed to materialise, Stourbridge had clearly done their homework on Matlock who simply ran out of ideas.
As in the first half, Stourbridge looked the more dangerous in the early part with Prosser trying his luck from twenty five yards forcing Deeney into an excellent tip over the bar. Deeney would then comfortably hold a shot from Luke Benbow before Matlock again tried to find a way back, a dangerous Joe West cross forcing a corner when really a Gladiators forward should have been on the end of it. A Crofts strike forced another flag kick with Olly Clark heading goalwards, the ball striking a defender but amazingly a goal kick was the decision!
Then Johnston broke down the right, his cross finding Styche who was denied by a fabulous last ditch challenge by Flint.
That would prove to be Styche’s last contribution, the Gilbraltar international had looked out of sorts for much of the game and he was replaced by Harry Wakefield.
LUKE BENBOW struck the post from 22 yards with Deeney beaten before he sealed the hosts’ victory as he turned adroitly on the edge of the box and threaded a low shot beyond Deeney’s despairing dive.
Matlock made a second change with Andrew Wright replacing Clark but there would be no way back for the Gladiators now. Benbow lobbed over the bar as the hosts looked for a third and substitute Obinna Anaebonam showed a turn of pace to cut in from the left but his power packed drive flew yards wide of the back post.
So the FA Cup run is over, at least Town went one stage further than in the previous two campaigns but in essence they again fluffed their lines on the road. Had either of the Margetts shots gone in and the penalty been awarded close to half time, it may well have been a different story, but their mentality away from the Proctor Cars Stadium has to change, a view emphasised by Carruthers in his post match assessment.
STOURBRIDGE: 1 Charlie Price 2 Joel Shambrook 3 Jack Wilson 4 Alex Prosser 5 Jessy Bavanganga 6 Joel Kettle 7 Niall Flint (15 Jack Fletcher 89) 8 Reece King 9 Luke Benbow 10 Brendon Daniels (12 Darryl Knights 71) 11 Dexter Walters (14 Obinna Anaebonam 71) Other subs: 16 Harry Lewis 18 Harvey Portman 19 Leo Wood 20 Lewis Solly
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Saul Deeney 2 Robbie McNicholas 3 Joe West 4 Olly Clark (14 Andrew Wright 80) 5 Ioan Evans 6 George Wilkinson 7 John Johnston 8 Josh Barnes 9 Reece Styche (12 Harry Wakefield 62) 10 Jonny Margetts 11 Nat Crofts Other subs: 15 Jamie Sharman 19 Myles Wright
REFEREE: Sam Wesson (Leicester) ATTENDANCE: 517 BEST GLADIATOR: John Johnston