Eastwood Town 1, Matlock Town 2
On loan striker Massiah McDonald scored a 77th minute winner to send Matlock through to the next round of the FA Trophy, but it was far from plain sailing for the Gladiators at Coronation Park.
Plucky Eastwood gave it everything they had got, striking the Gladiators crossbar on no fewer than three occasions.
Their hard working and enthusiasm caused Matlock a few headaches and on the balance of the play, the Badgers probably deserved a replay.
McDonald arrived on a month’s loan from Worksop and certainly pepped up the Gladiators attack.
He replaced Shaun Tuton in the starting line up with Will Dennis replacing Kane Richards and Lee Featherstone coming in for the banned Phil Roe in the other changes from the team held at home by Stocksbridge seven days earlier.
Eastwood included former Gladiator TJ Nightingale who gave Eastwood a 16th minute lead firing past Jon Kennedy after a free kick had been knocked down into his path so any hopes Matlock had of a first clean sheet of the campaign had been quickly extinguished.
Matlock equalised on 25 minutes when McMahon’s cross struck Romaine Graham’s hand and referee Alan Hull instantly pointed to the spot.
Lewis McMahon confidentially tucked away the penalty with his usual clinical efficiency. Will Dennis broke from deep to see his long range strike deflected behind but Eastwood’s Chris Shaw came within a lick of paint of restoring the Badgers lead when his 34th minute free kick struck the bar with Kennedy beaten.
Kennedy was booked for handball outside the box as Eastwood pushed forward again, it was the correct decision with the ball hitting him and cover was on. Shaw struck the bar for the second time from the free kick before Matlock could have gone in front when Featherstone’s low cross from the left was stabbed wide by McMahon with goalkeeper Sam Andrew out of position.
Kennedy superbly tipped a Griffiths-Junior strike on to the bar which was proving to be a useful safety net for Matlock, the Eastwood striker having easily shaken off Dennis.
Manager Mark Atkins made what proved to be a significant change midway through the half as Kane Richards replaced Dennis.
McDonald was narrowly off target following a fine run and cross by Richards before the duo combined for the match winning goal.
A neat pass by the winger released McDonald who kept his nerve to lift a delicate shot over Andrew, the ball dropping in to the opposite corner of the goal to give the Gladiators a precious advantage. It was a just reward for McDonald’s industry.
Matlock: Kennedy, Dennis (Richards 67), Featherstone, Foster, Foster, Lukic, Hamshaw, Yates, McDonald (Leesley 90 + 3), McMahon, Cotton. Other subs: Tuton, Deakin, Buxton.