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REPORT: Gladiators advance to next round of FA Trophy

Updated: Nov 1, 2019

Matlock Town beat Carlton Town 2-1 at the Bill Stokeld Stadium on Wednesday evening to make it through to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy.

Goals from Jordan Sinnott and Luke Hinsley ensured that the Gladiators will host Ashton United on November 9th in the next round of the competition.

The opening 20 minutes were a tight affair and didn’t result in many chances at all. The only attempt at goal of any kind fell to Luke Hinsley whose shot from just outside the area went narrowly wide of the post after only three minutes.

From the 20th minute onwards, Matlock stepped up their intensity and were duly rewarded. The Gladiators came very close to taking the lead when Hinsley managed a craning header on target from only five yards out which resulted in a good reflex save from Jack Steggles.

Matlock’s pressure told when they won a penalty in the 23rd minute after Marcus Marshall was blatantly tripped in the area. Jordan Sinnott stepped up to take the penalty and, whilst Steggles got a hand to it, the ball was struck firmly enough to the left to still find itself hitting the back of the net and this marked Sinnott’s third goal of the season.

Just two minutes later, the Gladiators doubled their lead. Marcus Marshall found himself surging into the penalty area and his close-range shot was parried by Steggles only to find the unmarked Hinsley who hooked his shot into the net from around ten yards out.

The Millers looked rather deflated after that quick-fire double blow and didn’t really trouble the Gladiators at any other point in the first half. Matlock ended the half comfortably and in control of the game.

The second half certainly saw a lot more attacking intent from Carlton Town and by the end of the match Matlock were really hanging on desperately to their lead.

Carlton’s first big opportunity fell in the 47th minute when a superb 20 yard free-kick looked sure to be going in. However, Jon Stewart made an outstanding acrobatic save to tip the ball onto the post which then lead to a hurried Matlock clearance.

Very shortly afterwards, Carlton had two more attempts at goal but the ball found itself gong well wide of the goal. Even still, the warning signs were there.

In the 69th minute, Carlton halved the deficit thanks to a close-range strike from Tyler Blake. A header from a corner was cleared off the line by Ben Gordon but the resulting whipped cross back into the penalty area found an unmarked Blake who rifled the ball home from only six yards out.

As expected, there was now sustained pressure from the Millers for the last twenty minutes of the game to try and force this tie to a replay. However, Matlock did have a glorious chance to kill the game off completely when Luke Hinsley really should have done better when he had all the space in the world to stroke the ball home from 12 yards out but his shot somehow went wide of the post.

Carlton’s sustained pressure was almost rewarded right at the very end of the match when striker Aaron Opoku ran on to a through ball into the penalty area. If Opoku had just showed more composure, he would certainly have forced the tie into a replay after an injury time equaliser. To the absolute relief of Matlock fans, Opoku’s shot was hurried and poor and the ball was hammered wide of the post when he only had Jon Stewart to beat.

This win will come as a huge relief for Gladiators manager Steve Kittrick as Matlock had lost five of their last six games coming into this match. Matlock will now focus on rediscovering their league form when they travel to Mickleover Sports in a Derbyshire Derby this coming Saturday afternoon.

Matlock Town: Stewart, Yates (c), Gordon, Dean, Gooda, Wiley, Bramall (Lacey 70), Rea, Hinsley, Sinnott (Harris 50), Marshall.

Unused Substitute: Morris, Tague.


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