Tuesday night’s Derbyshire Senior Cup Final victory over Gresley capped what joint manager Glenn Kirkwood labelled as “ a very good season” for Matlock Town.
The Gladiators thrashed the Moatmen 5-0 just two years after a similar demolition job in the final on the same opponents had resulted in a 7- 0 victory for Matlock.
“At the start of the season if you’d have offered us that plus the good league form and excellent runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, we’d have snatched your hand off” said a delighted Kirkwood who along with fellow boss Craig Hopkins was celebrating a first cup final success as a manager.
“We needed ten or so minutes to settle down but then we were outstanding and we felt that if we could get our game going on a nice pitch like this we would take some stopping” Kirkwood continued.
“We may have fallen short in the play-offs but having played sixty odd games this season we can’t ask any more of the lads.
Two of the cup final goals were scored by Marc Newsham and players, management and supporters alike were thrilled that Newsham found the target.
“He’s the consummate professional,” said Kirkwood, “He’s not made the starting line-up all of the time but he’s been brilliant in the dressing room and has just kept plugging away so we’re al;l over the moon for him scoring twice in the cup final.”
Kirkwood added that the “hard work for next season had already started” as he and Hopkins look to improve on this season’s achievements.
“Me and Hoppo put our heart and soul into this job so it’s nice to be rewarded. We’ll enjoy the cup final win, it’s our first piece of silverware in charge here and we were nervous going into it but without being disrespectful to Gresley we were just too strong for them. Again we’d like to thank the 600 odd fans who backed us in the final, they’ve been tremendous ever since we came, but the hard work of putting a side together who will improve us next season has already started. Really it’s mine and Hoppo’s busiest time.”
That hard work will include having to most likely fill the boots of top scorer Marcus Dinanga who has been on loan throughout last season from Burton Albion, netting a mammoth 34 league and cup goals.
Meanwhile, two Matlock players have received international recognition. Winger Niall McManus has been named in the England C squad and midfielder Joe Doyle-Charles is on the reserve list to face Punjab at Kidderminster before there is a further game in Jersey. Unfortunately for McManus his final university examinations mean he is likely to miss out.
The Gladiators Presentation Evening is being held in the Shorts Lounge at the DCJ Group Arena on Friday night. The Derbyshire Senior Cup will be on show and supporters are being encouraged to attend and have their photograph taken with the Senior Cup and their favourite Gladiators player.
Admission is free and the event will get under way at approximately 8pm with former Matlock legend James Lukic presenting the awards.