The Buildbase FA Trophy looms for Matlock Town on Saturday with the Gladiators hoping for a repeat of last season’s exploits when they reached the 2nd Round Proper.
They have a tough looking assignment at Evostik First Division North promotion chasing Glossop North End, unbeaten at home in six league games this term and currently lying in third spot.
“We know it’ll be hostile up there, they’re also a good side so we’ll be taking absolutely nothing for granted” said joint boss Glenn Kirkwood is well aware of the importance of Saturday’s tie, particularly after the embarrassment of the shock FA Cup exit at the opening stage against Midland Premier League Haughmond in September.
“Going out of the FA Cup so early wasn’t financially great for the club so we want to get through the Glossop tie and try and have a run not only to put some money into the coffers, but to have some fun again. Last year we had a fantastic time in the Trophy, going to Halifax, Solihull and Barrow, we want some more of that. If we can get a win on Saturday it can act as a springboard for good results as was the case last season.”
Matlock go into the tie with some confidence after winning their last two league games at Marine and then at home to Stafford Rangers last weekend, as well as making progress in the Integro League Cup, albeit after a penalty shoot out against Carlton Town, Matlock winning 4-1 from the spot after a 1-1 draw.
Kirkwood was particularly pleased with the Stafford result which was a 2-0 win with goals in each half from Tyrell Waite, whose loan from Boston United has been extended, and top scorer Shaun Harrad.
“ We were really pleased because it wasn’t the most pleasant of afternoons for playing football. We knew it would be windy and rainy and that we’d be up against a tough, physical side who like to battle. But we started off on the front foot and built from there and thoroughly deserved the win. We scored two great goals and could have had a couple more. Tyrell was really good again for us and Hazza (Harrad) keeps chipping away so we have a happy camp at present. Having won two out of three has got the lads buzzing a bit. All we can do is keep on winning for winning games breeds confidence.”
Kirkwood was pleased to come through the League Cup game which saw captain Adam Yates level with a second half header after Carlton had gone in front with an identical goal before the interval. Then Goalkeeper Phil Barnes’ brilliance came to the fore as he saved two in the penalty shoot out and got a hand to the one Carlton converted.
“It was one of those games where we didn’t want to pick up any injuries, we just wanted to progress. The pitch wasn’t brilliant being bobbly and the grass was long but you have to get on with it. We always fancy ourselves ion a penalty competition with Barnesy in goal and he did the business again for us.”
Matlock now have a home tie against Grantham Town in the next round on Tuesday November 27.
A well known face returned to the fold in time for the Carlton game as full back Micky Harcourt joined the Gladiators having spent a season and a bit at Handsworth Parramore. Harcourt made over 200 appearances for Town in his first spell after joining them from Glapwell at the start of the 2011/12 campaign.
“Micky knows the club, he’s well liked and will be a great signing for us” Kirkwood added. “We wanted him to stay when we first joined the club and we’ve wanted him back ever since. He played really well on Saturday and it’s great to have him back.”
Matlock have a couple of players carrying knocks going into the Glossop clash but Kirkwood expects them to have healed in time for Saturday. Training was a little different for them on Tuesday with a session in a boxing gym in Chesterfield.
“The weather wasn’t great and the pitch was being used by the reserves so we took the opportunity to get them inside and give them something different. Apart from a bruise or two from Shane Nicholson and a professional boxer they’re all okay” Kirkwood joked. “ We went there pre season, they all really enjoyed it.”