the npl

Weekly News | 17.1.24

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Weekly News | 17.1.24

Part One of Martin Carruthers’ week’s mission was safely negotiated with a solid 3-1 win at struggling Atherton Colleries. The Gladiators were then looking forward to taking on Southern Premier Central league leaders Mickleover in the Derbyshire Senior Cup quarter final only for the game to be called off at the eleventh hour due to a frozen Proctor Cars Stadium surface.

Carruthers took the postponement on the chin even though the tie had survived a mid afternoon inspection with the forecast saying that temperatures would remain above freezing. The pitch was fit for play on the arrival of the match referee but conditions deteriorated in the lead up to kick off and with both sets of players expressing concerns for safety, the decision was reluctantly made to call the game off. The tie will now be played at Matlock on Tuesday 30 January.

“It was the right decision” admitted the Matlock boss.

“We made every effort to get the game on and credit to everyone who worked so hard to do so, but we have to think of player safety. It’s a pity after the win at Atherton on Saturday, you like to build up momentum and having games called off can kill off that momentum but now we have to look ahead to Saturday’s game against Gainsborough to try and build on the Atherton result.”

The 3-1 victory at Atherton was most welcome after two successive home defeats and the blow of six points being deducted from the Gladiators tally following the resignation of Marske United. It meant that Matlock travelled to Lancashire in 17th spot, putting pressure on Carruthers’ men to return home with maximum points.

After going behind early on, Matlock went on to dominate the rest of the game with Jonny Margetts adding two goals to his impressive tally and new boy Scott Boden also scoring as well as claiming an assist.

Carruthers says he is excited by what the Margetts/Boden combination offers.

“Both Margs and Scott got on the scoresheet which is brilliant for us, they played so well together. They compliment each other, Scott does well in the link up play and to make and score a goal was great for him and us. Margs likes to play on the shoulder looking for the ammunition Scott and the other players can give him so it’s exciting for us and we hope that the partnership can develop further and flourish.”

The Matlock boss was a happy man after overcoming a side struggling who could also have presented his side with an unwanted banana skin.

“I was really pleased after conceding that early sloppy goal . It wasn’t pretty but I asked the lads to give me a professional job and they did just that. It was on a really difficult pitch and it wasn’t until I saw videos from the match that I realised how difficult the pitch was. So to come home with all three points was just what we wanted.”

The only blot on the day was the stoppage time dismissal of substitute Olly Clark which will see the midfielder suspended beginning with this weeks Gainsborough game.

Matlock and the Holy Blues have already met three times this term with a mammoth seventeen goals being scored so on that basis, fans should expect an entertaining clash at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

The Gladiators knocked Trinity out of the FA Cup winning a First qualifying Round replay 5-2 after a 1-1 draw in Lincolnshire but Trinity avenged that defeat by winning 5-3 in the league at the Northolme.

“It should be a very interesting game, we were generous with our defending there in the league but I think we’re a different side to way back then. It was disappointing to not play on Tuesday but we’ve got to get back to winning ways at home as soon as possible and get the win to kick start our season again.”

Clark excepted, the Matlock boss should have a full squad at his disposal with Michael Williams expected to return to the squad after illness.

Matlock will have a brief seaside stay at Whitby on Tuesday night in what on paper looks to be a tough test. The Seasiders are having a fine season sitting just outside the play off spots and having an FA Cup 1st Round appearance under their belts this term.

“That’s going to be a tough game up there but first and foremost we have to concentrate on getting three points against Gainsborough. Then we’ll think about Whitby, the aim is to keep being as consistent as we can until the end of the season and see where that takes us.”.

IAN RICHARDSON