Matlock’s FA Cup journey was a short but controversial one as Ilkeston eased through thanks to an 89th minute Rob Duffy goal at the Autoworld Arena last Saturday.
The hosts had led from the tenth 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 equaliser through Kane Richards.
From that point on, the Robins took control as an injury-hit Matlock dropped increasingly deeper into their own half.
The two sides had fought out a goalless stalemate at the Autoworld Arena seven days earlier, but Saturday’s tie began in more promising fashion as Che Adams forced Kennedy to knock away his fierce 20 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 his cross to the far post was controlled supremely by Gregory before a delicious volley found the net via a defender on the line. lt was a splendid effort.
Both Josh Meade and Liam Needham had rushes of blood with long range efforts that went 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.
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 with virtually the last kick of the half.
Duffy was a fraction away from converting a 51st minute free-kick and 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 replay looked on the cards until a tired pass from Ashmore 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 home.
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 run over enough for them to snatch their lucky leveller.
Saturday, September 13, 2014:
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Adam Yates 3 Phil Roe (Alex Hewitt 65) 4 Corey Gregory (Sam Robinson 87) 5 David Haggerty (Leon Osborne 46) 6 Oscar Radford 7 Jason Stokes 8 Josh Meade 9 Danny Holland 10 James Ashmore 11 Liam Needham (c). Subs not used: Lavell White, Matt Andrews, Matty Leese
Ilkeston: 1 Jordan Smith 2 Luke Shaw 3 James Reid 4 Akil Wright 5 Joe Maguire (c) 6 Jack Lane 7 David Morgan 8 Callum Chettle (Kieran Wallace 92) 9 Rob Duffy 10 Kane Richards 11 Chey Adams. Subs not used: Matt Baker, Mike Williams, Ashley Hunter, Danny Gordon, Aaron Myles, Eli Bako
Att: 417 Ref: Robbie Dadley
Star Man: Corey Gregory
Report by Ian Richardson