the npl

Weekly News | 15.3.23

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Weekly News | 15.3.23

Matlock Town boss Martin Carruthers is looking for some consistency in performances as fans just don’t know which Matlock Town side will show up before games start.

The last three games prove the point. A below par display at home to Ashton United brought them a point from a 1-1 draw, then a tremendous battling display saw them deservedly share the points with leaders and title favourites South Shields in a scoreless draw. But the Gladiators could not maintain that performance level when they travelled to Whitby last Saturday, Carruthers labelled it “a bad day at the office” as his troops returned home on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline.

“Over the last six games we’ve only lost once, but equally we’ve only won once so we needed to turn some of those draws into wins, we’d have been better losing three and winning three . The South Shields result and performance was outstanding so it was really disappointing for everyone at the club that we turned in such a poor show at Whitby. We made them look like world beaters. It’s easy to raise your game against the top sides but we also need to be able to go to places like Whitby and Lancaster and perform.”

Matlock found themselves three goals in arrears at the break. Jorome Slew pulled a goal back early in the second half but Whitby finished strongly to score again late on.

“We talked about game management at half time, Whitby scored in the 41st and 44th minutes, so had we kept things tight and gone in only one down, we might have had the chance to get back in the game in the second half. There’s no excuses from us, Whitby adapted to the pitch and conditions better than us, they were the better side on the day, we had a really bad day at the office.”

The midweek home clash with Marine was postponed on Tuesday lunchtime with water on the Proctor Cars Stadium pitch, so attention turns to another trip to the North Yorkshire coast as the Gladiators do battle with Marske United on Saturday.

Marske’s debut season in the NPL Premier Division has been a challenging one as they currently sit second bottom in both the league table and current form over the last ten matches.

“It’s a must win game and a massive improvement is required. We’ve got to pick the lads back up at training so we can go to Marske and get the three points which would still give us a fighting chance of making the play-offs. Our away form hadn’t been too bad until last weekend. We’ve got to be on the front foot from the start, that’s the key thing and to try and score early. Our best results and performances have come when we’ve taken the game to the opposition . We’ve got to show resilience and character to repay the fans with a performance and a result that they deserve and to show them that we still want to get into those play-offs!”

Carruthers said the support from the Gladiators fans has been “amazing”.

“Even with the performance we gave them on Saturday they kept on encouraging us and they’ve been great with us in the bar afterwards. It’s also encouraging to see so many teenagers there cheering us on, beforehand, during games and afterwards, we can’t thank them enough, they’ve been anazing” added Carruthers,

Matlock have injury concerns ahead of the Marske trip but then they have a two weeks break before travelling to Liversedge on April 1.

Midfielders Dan Bradley and Connor Dimaio are both definitely ruled out and there are doubts concerning Karl Demidh (ankle) and Alex Byrne (foot). Robbie McNicholas should return to the squad after his one match ban.

Carruthers added striker Bradley Wells to his squad late last week and he made his debut at Whitby. Given the injuries, it begs the question will Carruthers add to his squad before the transfer deadline of 5 pm on Thursday 23 March?

“Yes I’m still looking to add to the squad, we’re working really hard and if the right player comes along we’ll make the necessary moves to bring him to the club for I’m not prepared to let the season peter out. We’ve got the two weeks break, hopefully with one or two additions and the chance to work with the players we’ll have fresh energy after a rest from games to kick on in the last six games.”

Ian Richardson