the npl

Weekly News | 14.9.22

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Weekly News | 14.9.22

New Matlock boss Craig Elliott tasted defeat in his first game in charge at FC United of Manchester on Tuesday but was in the main encouraged from what he saw.

A penalty and a free kick, the latter deep into stoppage time at the end of the match, condemned Matlock to returning home to Derbyshire pointless, despite man of the match Alex Wiles’ fourth goal of the season for an 18th minute equaliser.

“It was a really good performance, especially in the second half. I thought we looked really comfy and to be honest I didn’t see them (FC United) scoring. We were in control of the game. They’d had a bit of bad luck at the start of the season so they’ll probably feel it was their time to get some good luck. It was a harsh result, they’s had one shot on target all through the second half ” said Elliott.

Elliott was named as the Gladiators new boss in succession to Paul Phillips on Saturday when Matlock’s scheduled visit to Guiseley was called off along with all football matches in the UK following the death of the Queen. He had not formally met his players before Tuesday’s match so preparation for the game was difficult for him.

“We’d not had a training session and I’m being careful not to say too much but we’re going to have a difficult seven to ten days while we assess what’s needed and also remembering we need to get points on the board.”

Elliott admitted that in spite of a good performance that ought to have yielded a point if not all three, the game didn’t throw up any surprises of what is required for the Gladiators to push on. Although he has had a break away from football management since his departure from Boston United in January, he has kept in touch with what has been happening in non-league and had watched Matlock’s recent matches with Ilkeston Town and Stafford Rangers.

“Tuesday did confirm what I already knew in that we need to get better on the ball especially in the final third, at times we were sloppy, whether that was down to tiredness or concentration I’m not sure. But I know what we need and we’ve got to be fitter to play the way I want us to play, we need more pace and legs in there. I’ll be spending time now assessing exactly what we need, things feel a little flat now with the timing of the goal but there’s things that are good in that we’re difficult to break down but equally there’s things that need looking at. I know the kinds of players I want to make us better, we’ll have to see whether I can get them in”.

A busy September continues for Matlock with a rearranged home meeting with new boys Warrington Rylands on Saturday (3pm) before the Gladiators are on their travels again on Tuesday at Guiseley.

“They’re very tough games, all teams in this league are going to be strong so we’ve no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got a good group of players. We’ll train on Thursday and be ready to tackle what lies ahead.”

Warrington Rylands have had a mixed start to the season after winning the NPL West Division title at the first attempt last term. They are currently 14th having won three, lost three and drawn once, a point behind the tenth placed Gladiators with a game in hand. They are likely to include former Matlock players Callum Dolan and Sam Egerton while veteran former Football League striker Kevin Ellison could lead their attack. Guiseley will also have Matlock connections with Spencer Harris, Luke Dean and Jerome Greaves all at Nethermoor Park along with assistant boss Martin Foster.

For Matlock, midfielder Callum Chippendale is again likely to be out as he recovers from a damaged hamstring and Elliott will need to check that defenders Jamie Sharman and Nico Degirolamo are fitenough to return. Midfielder Jordan Barnett now has five yellow cards in league games and will miss the clash at Guiseley through suspension.

Ian Richardson