the npl

Weekly News | 14.12.23

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Weekly News | 14.12.23

Matlock boss Martin Carruthers was glad to see his side blow off the cobwebs after an enforced two and a half weeks break when they defeated Shirebrook Town in the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Wednesday evening.

Jonny Margetts returned from injury to open the scoring ten minutes before half time before substitute Olly Clark:s 65th minute header, his first touch, doubled the advantage on a night when the Gladiators looked rusty.

“You could see the impact of having two and a half weeks without a game had in our performance” said Carruthers.

“We weren’t sharp, we weren’t good enough in and out of possession and had that been a league game we may not have won it. Training’s no substitute for playing and I half expected it but against lower placed opposition you expect to dominate and we didn’t do that. Credit to them (Shirebrook), they moved the ball well and created some chances. I’m delighted with the clean sheet and the win but we have to be much better when we go to Bamber Bridge on Saturday.”

Top scorer Jonny Margetts was given the opening forty five minutes in midweek as he gets over a hamstring injury which thankfully from the Matlock viewpoint only saw him miss two matches. Margetts duly obliged the Matlock crowd with a 35th minute slide rule finish which takes his goals tally to 29 for the campaign.

“It was always the plan to just let Margs have 45 minutes and he’s scored again. It’s fantastic to have him back and he could have scored more” Carruthers added who also paid tribute to goalkeeper Saul Deeney whose saves ensured the win when the NCEL First Division visitors threatened an equaliser early in the second half.

“Saul’s made some good saves and showed just how good a keeper he is and we’ve come through a banana skin unscathed. But I told the lads afterwards, we need to improve by a good five to ten per cent on Saturday. Bamber Bridge are a very good footballing side as we’ve seen down at Matlock. They’re not in a realistic position in the league but we’ll go there looking for the three points. I want us to be better and quicker than against Shirebrook on what’s likely to be a heavy pitch.”

The Gladiators will be without suspended defender Ioan Evans in Lancashire while midfielder Harry Wood is again rated as a virtual non-starter. Captain John Johnston picked up an ankle injury against Shirebrook and is considered doubtful but Michael Williams, who was cup tied for the Shirebrook match should return. And Matlock could spring a big surprise in including Connor Dimaio in their squad after recovering from an ACL injury picked up at home to Ashton United on March 4.

Meanwhile Matlock have announced a change of day and date for their home clash with Stafford Rangers which was originally set for New Years Day. Rangers will now visit the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday 30 December with Matlock looking to pick up spare fans from Chesterfield and Derby County who are not playing on December 30 but have home matches on New Years Day.