Goalkeeper Phil Barnes and on loan striker Marcus Dinanga shared the awards at Matlock Town’s Presentation Evening in the Shorts Lounge on Friday night.

Popular former defender James Lukic returned to present the awards in front of a packed audience , many of whom took the chance to have their photograph taken with The Derbyshire Senior Cup and their favourite player.

Barnes was named as both the fans top player and the players player, while Dinanga was presented with the Steven Greenhough Top Goalscorer trophy for his 34 league and cup goals, and the young player of the season award.

Club person of the year was Beverley Marchant, who is in charge of matchday catering and also is responsible for organising the Shorts Lounge facilities for midweek conferences and meetings. Beverley actually provided the buffet enjoyed by over 100 people on Friday night.

After a thrilling season capped by the 5-0 Derbyshire Senior Cup Final victory over Gresley earlier in the week, it must have been a difficult choice for supporters in a close poll which saw midfielder Joe Doyle-Charles and Dinanga share third spot with skipper Adam Yates being the runner-up.

But Barnes was a popular choice after a great season in which he has pulled off many outstanding saves and use all of his experience and knowledge to organise the Matlock defence and become a firm fans favourite.

After collecting his trophies from Lukic Barnes said “I was injured for a good spell in the season before and Kirky and Hoppo took a bit of a chance with me so I’d like to thank them for giving me the chance to come here. It’s a lovely little family club, my little lad and the rest of the family really enjoy coming down here to watch and I’m hoping for the same next season.”

Supporters were asked to outline reasons for their choice when voting.

John Peach said “Total consistency, brilliant keeper.” Phil Williams commented “he has kept us in many games with amazing saves, he is professional on and off the pitch.” Fellow fan Alan Alesbrook used just five words “simply best in the division.”

Barnes added he was particularly thrilled to receive the accolade of players player as he received a watch supplied by jeweller CW Sellors.

Joint managers Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins praised the efforts of the players in their speech and thanked everyone behind the scenes for their work and support which they said “makes Matlock Town such a great club.”

Lukic played 621 games for Matlock scoring 37 goals and was a king-pin in their defence in a fifteen year period, only interrupted for one season with a spell at Gainsborough Trinity.

“I have a lot of good memories of my time here, I watched the win against Gresley and it reminded me of when we won the cup at Derby beating our local rivals Belper 2-0. We had a lot of good players in that side. I can also remember the final win against Ilkeston over two legs and the League Cup Final win at Whitby when we were the underdogs. What impresses me most about these lads is the workrate, everyone puts in a real good shift and I’m over the moon for my two good friends in Kirky and Hoppo, plus the players and back room staff and the fans that they’ve done so well, they really deserved that cup win the other night.”

Ian Richardson

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