the npl

Weekly News | 16.8.23

Posted on
Weekly News | 16.8.23

Matlock boss Martin Carruthers admits that one point out of six and no goals scored represents a worrying start to the season.

The Gladiators opened the campaign against last season’s beaten play off finalists Bamber Bridge last Saturday with a scoreless draw, before being well beaten by title favourites Macclesfield in Cheshire on Tuesday night. Three second half goals did the damage, the eighty odd Matlock fans in attendance in a gate of 3250 having a sobering experience as their team were outplayed in the second half.

“It’s a worrying start although we knew it’d be tough against the beaten play off finalists and the side favourites to win the league. I was very disappointed with us against Macclesfield, it was men against boys at times, we were second best all over the pitch and if that’s a benchmark for the season then we’re way off being the best team in the league or looking to get into the play-offs. There’s a lot of work to do.”

Few would argue with that assessment although things would obviously look considerably brighter if three points had come their way on Saturday against a side they usually beat at home.

“In reality we needed the three points on Saturday, had we got that there wouldn’t be as much pressure on us getting a good result at Morpeth this weekend. It’ll not be easy up there, it’s definitely not the start we wanted.”

Carruthers feels sorry for his strikers.

“They had no service, we’ve got great lads there in Jonny Margetts and Reece but they need a supply line and that’s just not happening. Goals win games and to be honest we’ve not looked like scoring in either game so far. It’s something we’ll have to pay particular attention to in training. We’ve not passed the ball at all, that’s particularly annoying on a surface like at Macclesfield. Nobody in the midfield area is taking responsibility to get on the ball and play, getting the ball out wide so we can get decent crosses in, maybe it was because of the size of the occasion on Tuesday but it’s not good enough.”

A long trip to Morpeth wouldn’t be on Matlock’s wish list on the back of their two opening games.

“You pray for a good set of fixtures and these first three aren’t what I’d have picked but we have to get on with it. We’ve now got to try and get wins against Morpeth and at home to Atherton on Tuesday. Of course if we can do that everything in the garden looks more rosey.”

Sam Hooper will be out on Saturday as he serves a one match ban after his sending off against Bamber Bridge. Hopes that Archie White may return have proved to be unfounded as he is struggling with a pulled groin that could keep him out for at least a month. Jamie Sharman (hamstring) and Reece Styche (shoulder) came off as a precaution at Macclesfield, Sharman having missed the season’s opener.

The opening two results see Matlock languishing in fifth bottom spot, Carruthers, officials and fans will be hoping for a speedy improvement during the rest of the month.

Ian Richardson