THE PREVIEW | MTFC Vs Nantwich Town - Pitching In NPL - 16.4.22
Matlock Town host Nantwich Town on Saturday afternoon knowing that a win will guarantee them a play-offs place in the Northern Premier League Premier Division with two regular league games still to go. If they beat Nantwich, it will be the first time Matlock have reached the NPL Premier Division play-offs in 15 years.
The Gladiators come into this game boosted by their return to winning ways last weekend at Basford United. Paul Phillips's men currently occupy third position in the league table and have a very busy Easter weekend ahead of them due to the A6 derby at league leaders Buxton taking place on Easter Monday.
Nantwich Town currently sit in 15th position in the Northern Premier League Premier Division table and can mathematically neither secure promotion or fall into relegation at this point. Despite their relatively low position in the league table, Nantwich come into this game in good form with only one defeat in their last eight matches. In their most recent game, a last minute goal from Joel Stair rescued a point for Nantwich as they drew 2-2 at home against Atherton Collieries in the league. In their most recent away trip, Nantwich lost 1-0 at Lancaster City in the league.
Nantwich Town were founded in 1884 and are known as the Dabbers. This nickname is a nod to the town's tanning industry. They play their home games at The Optimum Pay Stadium in the town of Nantwich in Cheshire. The ground can hold up to 2,640 spectators with a seated capacity of 343.
The Dabbers manager is former Shrewsbury Town assistant manager Dave Cooke. Cooke was appointed as Nantwich's manager back in May 2017 and has guided the Dabbers to two Cheshire Senior Cup trophies.
The last trophy Nantwich Town lifted was the Cheshire Senior Cup triumph in the 2018/19 season. The Dabbers also won the FA Vase back in the 2005-06 season.
One to Watch
Highly-rated right-back Joel Stair will certainly be a key player to look out for on Saturday afternoon.
Stair has scored six goals for the Dabbers this season and scored both of Nantwich's goals in last weekend's 2-2 draw against Atherton Collieries.
Stair joined Nantwich Town from Hanley Town in September 2016 and is set to make his 200th appearance for the Dabbers on Saturday afternoon. In his time at Nantwich, Stair has scored a remarkable 24 goals from his full-back position.
Matlock Town have a number of injury concerns for this game. Alex Wiles, Liam King and Reece Webb-Foster are likely to miss this game due to their respective long-term injuries.
Both club captain Liam Hughes and Callum Chippendale are both rated as 50/50 for Saturday afternoon.
Goalkeeper Joe Young will be unavailable for selection due to a concussion that he picked up right towards the end of the game at Basford United last weekend. Due to this, Paul Cooper will start in goal for the Gladiators on Saturday.
These two sides last played each other in August this season in the NPL Premier Division at The Optimum Pay Stadium.
The Gladiators won 1-0 thanks to a Reece Kendall goal in the 62nd minute. The game was watched by a crowd of 371.