Matlock Town 0, Frickley Athletic 1
Matlock now can concentrate on the league, with Frickley gaining some revenge from the league double inflicted on them by the Gladiators by winning this Doodson Sports League Cup clash.
Town had emerged as 3-0 winners just four days previously on the same ground, but a changed Matlock line-up which had no width with all of their natural wingers sidelined, struggled to break down a sturdy defence.
Even so, three gilt-edged second-half chances were missed, one of them seeing Matlock strike the crossbar for the second time, as the hosts could have overturned the deficit from Danny Walsh’s 28th minute goal and win from a performance that manager Mark Atkins labelled as “poor for the whole 90 minutes.”
Atkins said: “We were poor in every department of the pitch.
“I’ve learned just one thing – that some of the lads we have here aren’t good enough. I like my sides to play football, there wasn’t one decent passing move.’’
There was a first full start for Scott Bibby with TJ Nightingale being recalled to partner Ian Holmes up front.
As Frickley broke at pace, Matlock were caught out and in trouble with Walsh supporting the attack shooting low, but a huge deflection off James Lukic saw Kennedy wrong-footed and beaten from the edge of the box hit.
In the 50th minute a coat of paint came to Frickley’s rescue when Gareth Davies rattled the bar from 20 yards with Dickenson well beaten.
On 74 minutes Dickenson parried King’s free kick and Holmes from three yards out could only head the loose ball against the bar.
Whitfield had replaced Bibby in the 64th minute and he should have enjoyed a dream debut. Harcourt’s free kick was flicked on but with just five minutes remaining, the youngster scooped his effort over from close range.
Five minutes earlier Kelvin Bleau had forced Kennedy to dive to his left to claw away a fine effort. It was hardly surprising that holes would appear in the Gladiators defence as Lukic had been sent up front as an emergency attacker.
But it was all to no avail as Matlock’s last hope of silverware for the season disappeared into the dark night sky. It was a different Frickley to the one which submitted barely without a whimper on Saturday. There again, it was also a different Matlock!
Matlock Town: Kennedy, Harcourt, Featherstone, King, Yates, Lukic, Bibby (Whitfield 64), Bowler, Holmes, Nightingale, Davies (Witcombe 81) Subs not used: Travis, Wilkinson, Buxton.