Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Matlock Town 0 v Frickley Athletic 1 - Doodson Sport Cup

Wednesday 11th January 2012
at the Reynolds Stadium, Causeway Lane
Doodson Sport Cup 4th Round
Matlock Town (0) 0
Frickley Athletic (1) 1 - Danny Walsh 28
Admission £9, Programme £2, Attendance 169
We entered Matlock through a cloud of smoke, caused by all the clutch and brake cables that had overheated on the challenging A632 into town and parked up near the ground.
I nearly didn't get to the game though, because I almost tripped over a skateboard that somebody had abandoned near the 'Visitors management and officials' parking spaces.
The obligatory pre match handshake picture
Matlock Town:
Jon Kennedy, Micky Harcourt, Lee Featherstone, Liam King, Adam Yates, James Lukic, Scott Bibby (James Whitfield 62), Kris Bowler, Ian Holmes, Tyeisse Nightingale, Gareth Davies (Kris Whitcombe 81).
Unused subs. James Travis, Matthew WIlkinson, Nick Buxton
Frickley Athletic:
Steve Dickinson, Kelvin Bleau, Ben Turner, Danny Walsh, Lincoln Adams, Stuart Ludlam, Grant Darley, James Ashmore, Brad Grayson, Ollie Ryan (David Cyrus 78), Ryan Mallon.
Unused subs. Matthew Semley, Liam Schofield, Jon Hood
The two sides had met at the weekend in a League match, where a 3-0 win for Matlock dumped Frickley right into a battle for survival at the wrong end of the table.
But tonight, the visitors won through to the last eight of the League Cup.
Also through to the quarter final stage are: FC United of Manchester, Northwich Victoria, Bradford Park Avenue, North Ferriby, Kendal Town, Rushall Olympic and Witton Albion, so the standard of teams still in the Doodson Sport Cup, gives the competition the kind of credibility that the sponsors were hoping for this season.
Which is a bit of a U-turn compared with how it's been received in recent years, when a number of teams played understrength line ups and didn't care too much for this much maligned Cup.Realistically, there are only around 7 clubs who can still challenge for promotion from the Northern Premier League now, barring a late charge on the rails (Nantwich Town maybe?), either by winning the league, or taking the play off route.
But at least Frickley are still on the cup trail on two fronts, namely the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior Cup and the League Cup/Doodson Sport Cup, so this season is far from over and there is plenty to still play for, besides the all important and severely needed league points of course.
An FA Cup or FA Trophy run is always nice, but it's hard to imagine any Evo-Stik League club reaching Wembley in either of those.
Though I'm sure Worksop will be giving it their best shot against Newport this coming weekend ... Good luck you Tigers!
What Frickley really needed tonight, as well as a win to break their recent run of results, was a bit of luck.
Good fortune has abandoned the Blues (or Whites tonight, due to the colour clash) of late, but on 28 minutes, after both sides had already created a couple of chance to no avail ... Hmm, looking at the game from a completely neutral angle; the referee Matty Walsh, may just have missed an infringement by a Frickley player and when he waved play on, Grant Darley took the ball towards the Matlock area, knocked the ball wide to the overlapping Danny Walsh and the Frickley number 4 fired the visitors ahead, via a deflected effort.
I'm certain these things really do even themselves out over a season and Walsh (M) hadn't exactly been benevolent to Frickley when he had last officiated one of their games at Westfield Lane towards the back end of 2011. But I don't think the Matlock fans sat around us would've been interested in hearing that point of view.
Just because you're losing! :-P
Just because you're losing! :-P
Jon Kennedy, the Matlock Town goalkeeper, was always in line to get a good write up tonight, from the moment his dad bought me a pint in the Gladiators social club before the game (cheers big man, good to see you again), but his performance merited one anyway.
Twice in the second half Kennedy was tested in one on one situations, right at the beginning and just before the end, against Ollie Ryan and James Ashmore respectively.
I've seen Jon come out on top in these situations so many times over the years, I know who my money was on both times ... and I would've won both dead cert wagers too.Jon's looking leaner, keener and fitter than he did for a while and he's obviously enjoying a new lease of life at Causeway Lane.
Good for him, by my reckoning he's still the best goalkeeper in this league by a long way.
;-) And you should see how much critical acclaim he'll get when his dad gets me another pint!
But joking aside, Big Jon is still up there with the best and would be an asset to any club at this level.
Steve Dickinson in the Frickley goal made a number of important stops too, as the Frickley defence rode their luck a couple of times.

Matlock appear to have acquired a young group of vocal supporters who make themselves heard for the entire 90 minutes at home games.
It would be easy for them to make the short journey to nearby Chesterfield to watch League 1 football, but it is commendable, on a number of levels and for a whole plethora of reasons, that they shun the Spireite calling and follow their local club instead.
Especially in light of Chesterfield's attendances going up when they were promoted as League 2 champions last season and glory hunting reached epidemic proportions in the land of the Crooked Spire.
Standing by MTFC and not defecting to Chesterfield, just because they've had a good season and your team didn't by comparison, is the true mark of a man.
Gentlemen, I salute you!
Gareth Davies hit the visitors crossbar as Matlock went in search of an equaliser and on 75 minutes an incident occurred that must make one wonder if Frickley's name is already engraved on the Doodson Sport Cup - no pressure at all to deliver now Pete and Jason ;-) - when Steve Dickinson saved Liam King's free kick (see above) and the ball dropped to former Mansfield Town striker Ian Holmes, who headed against the crossbar and then straight at Dickinson from the rebound.
The Frickley keeper gratefully hung on to the ball for dear life.
Steve Dickinson has had some criticism from the hard to please section of the Frickley faithful, but if any of them saw his performance tonight, they would've reassessed their evaluation of the former Southport 'cult hero' on the strength of one or two saves he made.
Dickinson's game revolves around the positional awareness that experience brings, rather than diving around like a mad man and grabbing everyone's attention (he is, after all, 38 years of age), which is why his contribution to the team, sometimes seems to go unnoticed.
Kelvin Bleau almost scored Frickley's second with 10 minutes remaining but Jon Kennedy saved his 25 yard effort and then Brad Grayson fired into the side netting with five minutes remaining.
Though nobody could argue that there were a couple of times over the 90 minutes when Frickley's luck was in, they also created enough clear cut chances to have won by a bigger margin themselves and may well of done so, if Jon Kennedy hadn't been in such a stubborn mood in the Matlock goal.
My blond, dizzy headed travelling companion, who was also present at Harrogate Town v Frickley Athletic Cup game earlier in the season, now reckons she's Frickley's cup tie talisman (taliswoman?) and says she'll be at the Blues next Doodson Sport Cup game too.
As long as you pay for yourself to get in and buy your own pie and peas, you're more than welcome any time, in the event that I actually go to that game of course ;-)FOOTNOTE:
Added Friday 13th January 2012
Doodson Sport Cup QF draw:
Frickley Athletic v FC United of Manchester
Kendal Town v Witton Albion
North Ferriby United v Bradford Park Avenue
Northwich Victoria v Rushall Olympic

Ties to be played on Tuesday 7th February with extra time and penalties if required.