the npl

Weekly News | 10.1.24

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Weekly News | 10.1.24

It’s a big week ahead for Matlock Town after events on and off the pitch recently has seen their standing in the NPL Premier Division table take a turn for the worse.

Just one win and four points from their last five league matches has seen their hopes of a place in the end of season play-offs nosedive but also the resignation of Marske United in the past week has dealt them a massive blow. Matlock had done a league double over Marske with 5-0 and 3-0 wins and leading scorer Jonny Margetts will not be best pleased as not only will the Gladiators lose the six points they gained , he will have five goals taken from his tally.

So when the calculations are done and confirmed by the NPL., Matlock will finds themselves firmly entrenched in the bottom half of the division.

Nobody can do anything to alter what has gone on at Marske manager Martin Carruthers and the Matlock squad have to put their full energy into returning home from foot of the table Atherton Colleries this coming Saturday with maximum points, the first attempt to play at the Skuna Stadium being aborted by a waterlogged pitch last Saturday. Fortunately with both clubs being free this weekend, the clubs and the league got together to make a hasty rearrangement.

Then on Tuesday night Matlock host Mickleover in the quarter final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup, Matlock’s best chance of success this campaign, the Gladiators having last lifted the County Cup back in 2017.

Although Matlock were beaten 2-1 at home by a very good but expensively created Macclesfield side to suffer a second successive home defeat, Carruthers feels far more upbeat about the week ahead than he did after the poor performance in the 3-1 defeat by Stafford Rangers in their previous match.

“I feel more happy going to Atherton on Saturday than I did before the Macclesfield game. I couldn’t have asked for any more from the lads against a side of Macclesfield’s quality. There were loads of positives to take, I asked the lads for a response after the previous game and they gave me one. I felt we should have been ahead at half time and I said to the lads at half time, keep doing the things you’re doing and we can win this, Unfortunately we conceded a poor goal from a bobble , Macclesfield had that bit of good luck and then we switched off for their second, losing the ball from our throw. Once you’ve conceded the following five minutes is so important and a quality side like Macclesfield will punish you.”

Carruthers introduced new striker Scott Boden for the final third of the clash. Most well known for two spells with Chesterfield, the much travelled 34 year old has recently been released by Buxton and with Karl Demidh having departed to join Belper Town, the Matlock boss feels he has brought in a quality replacement.

“Scott did really well, he’s not had much game time recently but he showed what a real asset he’ll be in helping Margs. He very nearly scored for us with that chip. His great build up play combined with his experience and knowledge, as well as being a goal scorer should help us no end.”

Boden’s introduction revived Matlock when they looked as they might sink after going two goals down.

“The lads showed character and we could and probably should have scored at least one more near the end so we definitely deserved something. The performances against Stafford and Macclesfield are like chalk and cheese, this was more like we’ve been at home, it was a good home performance.”

Carruthers says he is expecting “a completely different game” at Atherton, given the hosts’ current position, their pitch and surroundings.

“It’ll not be easy, they’re fighting for their lives and will want to make it difficult for us on their pitch. We need to go there and get on the front foot and show our quality in the final third. Basically we’ve got to go there and win to give us some confidence going into the Mickleover game.”

Mickleover returned to the top of the Southern League Premier Central after a 2-1 home win against Stourbridge on Tuesday but have taken just twelve points from their last ten matches after a brilliant start to their league campaign which saw them win their opening thirteen league matches,

“It’ll be a tough game but it’s one we can win” said Carruthers.

“We want to do well in this competition and have a go at winning it so we’ll be putting out a strong side.”

Matlock have released former Chesterfield defender Jamie Sharman who has struggled for form and a regular place in the Gladiators starting line up this season. The 22 year old joined Matlock after being released by Chesterfield and quickly established himself at the heart of the Gladiators defence alongside the likes of Ryan Qualter, Sam Egerton and Ioan Evans, His winning goal on the final day of last season earned Matlock their play-off place. This season though saw him hit by injury with two red cards setting him back further as the emergence of Chesterfield loanee George Wilkinson and the return of club legend Adam Yates has further restricted his chances of regular first team football at Matlock. In total Sharman made 82 appearances for the Gladiators scoring two goals.

“I totally get Jamie’s desire for first team football” Carruthers explained.

“I’d like to thank Jamie for his time and effort while I’ve been at the football club .He was a key player in our run to the play-offs last season .and that can’t be underestimated .It didn’t quite work out for him this season, he’s a young lad with bags of ability and potential who needs to be playing first team football. He wants to play and just became frustrated not being in our side so we wish him well in any future endeavours.”

Carruthers has not ruled out further additions should the right player become available.

“I’m always looking to strengthen us and if the right lad comes along we’ll see what we can do.”