Matlock target cup glory

Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins will take their side to Altrincham in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins will take their side to Altrincham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Matlock Town will have the chance of reaching the FA Cup first round proper for the first time in 27 years when they travel to Altrincham on Saturday.

A 3-1 replay win at Workington in the third qualifying round saw them qualify to meet the National League North Robins at Moss Lane, and a league visit to the same Borough Park venue just four days later saw them beat the Reds again by the same scoreline.

Then on Tuesday, Matlock dominated the home clash with Blyth Spartans whose goalkeeper Adam McHugh denied the hosts time and time again, and also saved a Michael Williams penalty as the North Easterners held on grimly and by the skin of their teeth for an undeserved scoreless draw.

But joint boss Glenn Kirkwood believes that the results from their last three matches show how far Matlock have come in recent weeks.

He said: “We’re disappointed to be honest not to get the three points against Blyth.

“But on the flip side our good run continues against a really good side and it shows just how far we’ve come.

“To get two excellent wins from two very long trips to Workington is fantastic and I can’t speak highly enough of the players for the way they played in the cup tie and then again on Saturday when we thought we were in for a tough afternoon, as the lads looked on their knees going into the game.

“Workington went into it with a point to prove but our lads dug in and showed what we’re all about. Marcus Dinanga was superb so it was disappointing he had to miss out against Blyth.

“He got a brilliant goal and caused them all sorts of problems but everyone played their part in a brilliant team performance, capped by Ted Cribley’s unbelievable wonder goal at the end.”

Matlock had enough chances to have made it a hat-trick of victories against Blyth but it wasn’t to be.

Kirkwood added: “It was one of those nights when it wouldn’t go in. Their keeper was exceptional. It was an excellent performance and hopefully we’re saving the goals we deserved but didn’t get for Saturday. “

Kirkwood says the cup game will be a tough tie despite Alty’s poor start to the season which has seen them win just once in the league, 2-0 at Stalybridge Celtic last weekend.

Kirkwood said: “They’re in the league above but league positions go out of the window in the FA Cup and if we can catch Altrincham on a bad day then who knows?

“We’re going to go there confident and give it a good go and if we can get through then it’s brilliant for the club,

“It would be an unbelievable achievement to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup, something we didn’t really consider at the start of the season. We’re all really excited and we look forward to a large travelling support behind us.”

If the game ends in a draw, the replay will be at Matlock on Wednesday night and not the usual Tuesday as with Matlock scheduled to be visiting Halesowen in the league, there is a long-standing function on in the Social Club.

A result on Saturday will mean Matlock travel to The Grove aiming to improve on a dismal league record against Halesowen.