Matlock Town 0 Eastwood Town 1
Eastwood had to endure a barrage of pressure at The Reynolds Stadium on Saturday but TJ Nightingale’s first-half goal earned them an unlikely win.
The Badgers, who managed to put together a slightly more experienced side than that which defeated Worksop Town three days earlier, were on the back foot throughout most of the clash in Derbyshire, but held on to record their third successive league win.
For all their dominance of the possession, Matlock failed to properly test goalkeeper Sam Andrew.
The procession towards the Eastwood goal lasted virtually from start to finish. Inside 90 seconds Matthew Hamshaw’s free-kick was headed over by Lewis McMahon who would also shoot or head off target on three more first-half occasions.
Massiah McDonald fired over the bar as he ran at the Eastwood defence, Adam Yates headed too high from a set piece and Phil Roe blazed similarly off target.
So when Eastwood scored it came as a major surprise. They had briefly threatened a couple of minutes earlier when the close control of Antony Griffith Jnr in the box had Matlock retreating with Micky Harcourt deflecting the shot wide for a corner.
But when Eastwood attacked down the right, a cross was played towards the near post where Nightingale steered the ball past Kennedy from close range.
McMahon then had the ball in the net almost immediately but the assistant’s flag ruled the effort out.
Early in the second-half Matlock should really have been awarded one, if not two penalties. Romaine Graham clearly held McDonald back but referee Joe Hull waved for play to continue and then a McDonald cross struck Josh Raven on the hand but again the official saw no wrongdoing.
In between Glyn Cotton cut in to fire narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
As time ebbed away Matlock began to look desperate and they were trying their luck from long range. Oscar Radford’s 30-yarder sped wide and a strike from McMahon from a similar distance was comfortably gathered by Andrew.
Eastwood were reduced to ten men in the 81st minute when substitute Adam Somes was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Roe.
But still the hosts could not find the breakthrough. McDonald’s shot on the run swerved wide and Leesley’s header dropped agonisingly the wrong side of a post.
Deep into stoppage time Roe’s free-kick was just too high before the final whistle shrilled to confirm another vital three points for John Ramshaw’s side.
Matlock: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Phil Roe 4 Martin Foster (Kane Richards 73) 5 Oscar Radford 6 James Lukic 7 Matt Hamshaw (Jordan Thewlis 57) 8 Adam Yates 9 Massiah McDonald 10 Lewis McMahon 11 Glyn Cotton (Joe Leesley 57). Subs not used: Lee Featherstone, Nick Buxton
Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Josh Raven 3 Chris Shaw 4 Danny Elliott 5 Romaine Graham 6 Mitch Hanson (Adam Somes 15) 7 Gregg Simmons 8 Alex Troke 9 TJ Nightingale 10 Anthony Griffith Jnr 11 Paolo Piliero. Subs not used: Vijay Selvam, Regan Marriott
Scorer: Nightingale 41
Ref: J Hull (Stockport)