Matlock Town FC put in a woeful performance against Mickleover Sports on Tuesday evening to exit the Doodson Sports Cup on a ground where they have always struggled.
This was the Gladiators’ third defeat in three competitive matches at the Raygar Stadium.
Manager Mark Atkins made five changes to the starting line-up which were unlucky not to beat Fylde at the weekend. Even so, the starting eleven should have been good enough to deal with Sports who are from the division below.
The tie was scoreless at the interval but the warning signs were there.
Then there were four goals by the 72nd minute, shared equally between strikers Karl Demidh and substitute Rob Ritchie-Smith killing Matlock off.
A depressing night was made worse when goalkeeper Jon Kennedy clashed with Demidh and was sent off for violent conduct with three minutes left.
The Doodson Sports League Cup was probably low on Matlock’s list of priorities. Possibly with big FA Trophy and league games in the pipeline, Martin Foster, Adam Yates, Liam Needham, Corey Gregory and Danny Holland were all omitted.
But those that came in generally failed to grasp their chance, save perhaps Cecil Nyoni on his debut and Bradley Grayson.
Kennedy dived to his right to deny Demidh as the interval arrived with the visiting faithful looking for an improved showing.
Lee Featherstone saw his shot blocked straight after the restart when Grayson’s cross ricocheted through to him but the hosts broke swiftly downfield and Demidh punished awful defending to fire in the opening goal.
Ritchie Smith made a telling contribution within three minutes of his introduction.
He was given far too much room to blast in the second from the edge of the box on 65 minutes before repeating the trick two minutes later.
Terrible defending gave Demidh a clear run down the left for the fourth in the 72nd minute.
Then came Kennedy’s red card.
The Matlock Town goalkeeper was obviously upset by an earlier, allegedly late challenge from Demidh, but that was no defence for his reaction to a second altercation.
Matlock Town FC will visit Glossop North End in the third round of the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Tuesday, December 9, after the Hillmen defeated Whaley Bridge Athletic 2-1 in midweek.