the npl

Weekly News | 13.10.21

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Weekly News | 13.10.21

Matlock Town boss Paul Phillips wants the townsfolk and those in the Derbyshire Dales area to turn out in force for Saturday’s home top of the table clash with South Shields.

The Gladiators have a three point lead over second placed Shields following Tuesday’s fixtures which saw Matlock win 3-1 at foot of the table Grantham while Shields won their first game in four with a 2-0 home derby win against Morpeth Town.

“We need people in the area to get down and get behind us” said Phillips.

“It must be a long time that this club was involved in a top of the table game fifteen or sixteen games into the season. The support we’ve received this season from our fans has been top class and we’ll need each and every one of them plus the support of everyone in the area to come down and back us.”

Shields regularly attract home gates in excess of 2000 so a healthy number of supporters are expected to back their team at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

The Mariners have won on ntheir last two visits to Matlock but a year ago this weekend, Matlock returned from Mariners Park with all three points thanks to a second half header from Alex Byrne.

Looking ahead to the game, Phillips believes Matlock are well capable of maintaining their 100 per cent home league record.

“It’s a game we’ should relish and one I feel we can win. We went up there last year and came home with the points but we all know South Shields are an excellent side and we know we face a very hard task. We also know we’ve got to play a lot better than in the last two or three games.”

Matlock were beaten 2-1 at Atherton last weekend before the Grantham win. At Atherton Matlock missed a gilt edged chance to go in front and a catalogue of opportunities went begging at Grantham.

“We’ve got to start taking our chances. We had two gilt edged ones at Atherton which could have changed the game and there were countless ones at Grantham. Take them and the game’s very different. Don’t and you can get bitten on the bum and we were hanging on a bit in the second half. It’s a matter of being ruthless, we ought to have been 4-0 up in the opening fifteen or twenty minutes. You can’t legislate for missing the chances and I was disappointed with the goal we gave away, it was very sloppy on our part. But looking at things as a whole, Grantham away on a Tuesday isn’t the nicest place to come to but we’ve got the win and really if they’d (Grantham) had got something from the game it’d have been a travesty”

Matlock still needed a superb stop from goalkeeper Shaun Rowley to deny Lee Shaw and Grantham an equaliser.

“That’s what I pay him for, to make saves, I’m disappointed we didn’t make their goalkeeper make more saves, we had too many shots off target.”

Ross Hannah, on as a substitute, received his second red card of the season late on, the referee again saying it was for the use of an elbow.

“It was very harsh, Ross’s understandably really upset, he didn’t know there was a man there so I think we might try and appeal it. It was just like the one earlier in the season (against Basford). I must say though that I thought overall the referee handled the game really well , he was just too quick to get his card out without giving himself the chance to think”.

Hannah will be eligible for selection for the South Shields clash with any suspension which might follow not kicking in until seven days after the offence, Matlock hope to have Adam Yates back after a slight hamstring problem which kept him out at Grantham while Jamie Sharman could be fit enough for a place on the substitutes bench after a seven games absence. Alex Wiles came off at Grantham with a dead leg but should be fit.

Reece Kendall’s fifth booking of the season at Atherton rules him out though, just as he celebrates being awarded a new and improved contract at Matlock.

The 22 years old wing back joined Matlock from Brighouse Town in the summer of 2020 and has quickly become a crowd favourite at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

“Reece has been fantastic for us as time has gone on” said Phillips.

“He needed time to acclimatise to the higher level of football and to the club and how I like to do things, but he’s worked tremendously hard, has got a top class attitude and as a club we’re delighted to reward him with this new contract, it shows loyalty on both sides.”

Monday lunchtime’s FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round draw sees the Gladiators host Southern League Premier Central outfit AFC Rushden and Diamonds in an intriguing tie on Saturday 30 October.

Ian Richardson