Match Photographer: James Williamson
Match Report by Jamie Griffiths
The current holders of the DCFA Senior Challenge Cup were knocked out in the Third Round by Alfreton Town, who will travel to New Mills in the Quarter-Finals after winning 1-0 on Tuesday night.
The game was a largely scrappy affair, with only a few real chances in the first 45 minutes, but it opened up in the second half with chances at both ends. Despite Matlock’s Shaun Harrad having the best opportunities of the game, twice being denied by Chris Elliott from close range, it was Alfreton who got the crucial goal, after Andre Johnson turned the ball in at the near post from a corner to send the hosts into the Quarter-Finals
Both sides went close in the early stages of the game with Alfreton’s Chris Sharp sending a header just over the bar from close range, before Matlock’s Jake Green fired wide from the edge of the box after some good build up play.
Matlock had the next two chances in the game, both falling to Michael Williams, who sent a fierce effort over the bar before seeing his effort from close range saved by Elliott moments later.
Alfreton came closest to scoring after half an hour, when a corner caused a scramble in the six yard box. The visitors did well to block an attempt on goal before the Referee, James Oldham, blew for a foul.
The last chance in a cagey first half fell to Matlock’s Harrad, who saw his first effort from the edge of the box blocked, before sending the rebound wide of the left hand post.
Half Time: Alfreton Town 0 Matlock Town 0
The second half was much livelier than the first, which the fans appreciated on a cold Tuesday night.
Within the first ten minutes of the break, Matlock spurned three chances to take the lead, all from Harrad who looked a threat in the final third.
First the former Notts County man broke through on goal after getting on the end of a poor back pass, but he was denied by a strong save from the Alfreton stopper. He then saw another effort from the edge of the box blocked, spinning out for a corner which came to nothing. Then, moments later, he broke through once again, but Elliott thwarted him once more, making himself big and pushing the ball away.
Alfreton made a double sub after an hour to try to get on top of the game, bringing on Andre Johnson for Chris Sharp and Marcus Marshall for Brendon Daniels, and it worked almost immediately.
A few minutes after their introduction, Alfreton fired a corner from the left into the box and Johnson turned it in at the near post to give the hosts the lead. It was a big blow for Matlock, who had the better chances to score up to this point.
Alfreton made their final sub of the night bringing on Morgan Brough for Marcus Day with 17 minutes left to play.
The visitors pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but with time ticking away, their best chance was sent wide of the back post when Dwayne Wiley beat his man to meet a corner from the right.
The hosts could have added a second with 6 minutes to go as young substitute Brough nicked the ball away from a Matlock defender and raced through on goal, only for his shot to be easily saved by Philip Barnes.
That was the last piece of action in an entertaining second half, resulting in Alfreton progressing in the Quarter-Finals, where they will face New Mills the week commencing Monday 8th January 2018.
Full Time: Alfreton Town 1 Matlock Town 0
DCFA Senior Challenge Cup Quarter Final Draw:
Mickleover Sports v Buxton
Chesterfield XI or Heanor Town v Belper Town
Ilkeston Town v Whaley Bridge Athletic
New Mills v Alfreton Town