TOWN made a couple of changes for the long trip to north Derbyshire.
Luke Gibson returned from injury and Leon Henry made his debut for the club.
Long Eaton’s “in your face” long ball style of football on a very bobbly pitch meant the Town players were in for 90 minutes of hard work and Paul Quinn certainly had them in the right frame of mind to be up for the battle.
Town captain, Nick Jagger was outstanding in the heart of the defence and he inspired his team.
The game started at a frantic pace. Long Eaton launched the ball forward at every opportunity and were clearly determined to knock Town out of their stride.
With 20 minutes gone, there had been very little action in either penalty area as play was very much centred in midfield, but Greg Porter did make a good block in the area following a corner and Gibson had a long range shot saved by Scott Miles in the home goal.
Long Eaton started to put more pressure on the Town back four, but Jagger had committed team mates alongside him in defence - Adam Wilson, James Sutcliffe and Tom Brown all having superb games.
The nearest the home side came to scoring was a long range effort from Blaine Hancock that Ben Imeson watched sail over the bar.
Quinn made a tactical switch at half-time, Sam Akeroyd’s ability to get on the ball and start passing moves, had to be sacrificed for the more physical presence of Shane Hamilton as they attempted to “fight fire with fire”.
Town made a positive start after the break, good work from Porter and Henry allowed Sutcliffe to drive a powerful shot a couple of feet wide in the opening minute.
Long Eaton responded with a move down the right and a cross from Weighman was fired over the top.
Town responded with a 25-yard effort from Anthony Haigh that was just off target. On 60 minutes Sutcliffe’s free kick broke to Gibson whose volley was saved by Miles.
The keeper immediately punted the ball downfield and caught out Town’s defence allowing Shaun Rickford to lob it over the advancing Ben Imeson.
Long Eaton had underestimated the fighting qualities and team spirit of Paul Quinn’s side.
Town took the game to the home side and equalised within five minutes of going behind. Wilson’s ball into the box was flicked on by Hamilton and Matthews poked it in from six yards to level.
The game was becoming more fractious by the minute and the officials were struggling to keep control.
Town found the best response possible by sticking the ball in the back of the net on 78 minutes.
Porter and Henry worked the ball into the box where Matthews pounced to fire low past the keeper.
Matthews had a quiet game by his standards with only limited service to work with, but his value to the team was shown as he snapped up the only two chances that came his way in the game.
Town replaced Anthony Haigh with the more defensive minded Ryan Brook and he followed the example of his team mates already on the pitch by giving 100 per cent commitment in every challenge.
Town withstood a final aerial bombardment by the home side to record a hard earned win gained by sheer hard work and determination by the whole team and the finishing qualities of Matthews.