13 January 2015
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town's last chance of any cup success this season disappeared in the cold night air at the lmpact Arena on Tuesday, as they tamely bowed out of the Derbyshire Senior Cup at the hands of neighbours Matlock Town.
The Gladiators may have scored from three of the six attacks they had mustered in 90 minutes, Alfreton may have dominated possession and been somewhat unfortunate to only score once, but there were so few positives to take out of this performance from a Reds' perspective as Matlock eased through to the semi-finals.
Alfreton began promisingly as they tried to take the tie by storm, Massiah McDonald forcing visiting keeper Jon Kennedy to tip over from Bradley Wood's second minute cross, but from their first venture into Reds' territory Matlock took a simple sixth minute lead when Phil Roe's cross was swept in by Liam Needham.
Luke Graham had two back post headers blocked as Alfreton racked up a sucession of corners, then Karl Hawley was thwarted by both Kennedy and former Reds' defender Lawrence Gorman.
Matlock had both Adam Yates and Roe substituted with injuries before half an hour had elapsed, a bizarre moment ensuing when former Gladiator McDonald carried Roe off after being treated on the far side of the pitch.
A diving save by George Willis to keep out Joe Leesley's diving header after Andre Johnson had played Jason Stokes through in the 38th minute was the prelude to Matlock taking a vice-like grip on the tie, another ex-Red Michael Harcourt smashing home a spectacular shot from 30 yards to double their advantage one minute later.
Then in the second minute of first half added time Kennedy's clearance sent Leesley through to beat Willis from just inside the area.
John Johnston injected much needed pace after the break, his 54th minute cross glanced inches wide by Lee Stevenson, then moments later at the other end Ellis Humble headed against the top of the crossbar.
Jake Sheridan fired over from a Hawley cross, Andi Thanoj fared little better from a Sheridan delivery then Leesley's effort met a similar fate when Matlock responded.
At last, 20 minutes from time, Alfreton found the back of the net when Jordan Keane stabbed Johnston's cross home from close range for his first goal for the club, but the Reds took too long to make any significant inroads into the deficit despite a lot of possession.
Both Anthony Howell and Hawley whipped wasted crosses through the goalmouth from either side, then Hawley went close with a near post header from Thanoj's 89th minute free-kick.
With a minute of stoppage time elapsed Stevenson's header was fumbled by Kennedy, who then dived bravely at Hawley's feet as the striker attempted to prod the loose ball over the line.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 George Willis
02 Bradley Wood
03 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
05 Luke Graham
07 Nathan Hicks (27 John Johnston, 50 mins)
11 Anthony Howell
14 Jake Sheridan (12 Tom Shaw, 62 mins)
15 Jordan Keane
17 Massiah McDonald (08 Lee Stevenson, 51 mins)
23 Karl Hawley
Substitutes not used:
06 Chris Smith
Only four named
Matlock Town Team:
Adam Yates [Andre Johnson 24]
Jason Stokes [Danny Holland 79]
Phil Roe [Martin Foster 29]
Substitutes not used:
None, only three named
Alfreton Town - Jordan Keane (70)
Matlock Town - Liam Needham (6), 39 Michael Harcourt (39), Joe Leesley (45+2)
Alfreton Town - Karl Hawley
Man of the Match: Andi Thanoj
Referee: Nigel Smith of Clay Cross