the npl

Weekly News | 15.11.22

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Weekly News | 15.11.22

Craig Elliott labelled Matlock’s win at top of the table Hyde United as “ a really good away performance” as John Johnston netted a 30th minute winner to shock the league leaders.

Hyde had won their previous three league games which included a 7-0 thrashing of Bamber Bridge and in the week leading up to the clash with the Gladiators, a highly impressive 1-0 victory at title favourites South Shields.

“It’s a really tough place to go to and we maybe rode our luck in the final ten to fifteen minutes but we earned that. We’d created some really good chances particularly early in the second half, we were solid defensively and maybe could have won by more. Everyone pulled together, we were brave and we proved that we’re capable of going mixing it with the big boys in the division.”

It was their first match in a fortnight and it had been eighteen days since they were in league action, when they beat this coming Saturday’s visitors in the Isuzu FA Trophy, Marske United.

Matlock currently lie in fifth spot in a hugely tight Pitching In NPL Premier Division table that is showing signs now of settling down as the matches played totals are starting to even out. The Gladiators are handily placed to make a bid for top spot although South Shields remain odds on to lead the table at some point having as many as four games in hand on their rivals sat the top.

“It just shows what two or three wins on the spin can do for you. The table now has a more realistic look although South Shields still look as though they can pull away from everyone else but I believe we’re right in the mix” said Elliott.

The Town boss is also more happy now that Matlock have gone a long way to eradicating their away day blues, now having won three out of their last four games on the road.

“The wins we had at Warrington Rylands and Hyde are two excellent results, our difficulties earlier on the road were probably due to how tight this league is. I must mention our fans who did us proud on Saturday, we took a good following who were loud and with the Hyde fans also getting behind their side it resulted in a really good atmosphere.”

Marske head to Matlock on the back of an excellent 1-0 win at Warrington Town last weekend, yet another result which shows the unpredictability of the division. Since the 4-1 defeat at Matlock, the Seasiders have installed Curtis Woodhouse as their new manager and Woodhouse has been active in the transfer market bringing in a number of new signings, although most are cup tied for the Matlock game.

Elliott reiterated his thoughts on the match just after the draw was announced in that he is expecting a tough game.

“Before the signings were made Marske had a lot of very good players and knowing Curtis, he’ll be looking to add to the squad before Saturday. We’ve got to take these FA Trophy games as they come, with them being settled on the day and on penalties after ninety minutes everyone has a better chance of getting through. Of course we want to get through and have the chance of a big National League side in the next round. Marske will come here with a point to prove after the game the other week so we need to be on top of our game.”

The Gladiators have no new injury problems as things stand although Brad Abbott is likely to remain doubtful after damaging his finger in an accident at work, this coming on top of a leg injury he already had,

Full back Kallum Mantack accepted an offer from Warrington Rylands to leave Matlock although he was not included in the Rylands squad that drew 2-2 at FC United of Manchester last weekend.

Matlock also were able to extend the loan of centre forward Bartosz Cybulski from Derby County as they set off for Hyde last Saturday.

Ian Richardson