the npl

Weekly News | 17.4.24

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Weekly News | 17.4.24

Mark Atkins was left bitterly disappointed by a Matlock horror show in Tuesday night’s 4-0 home defeat by Gainsborough Trinity.

Just three days later the Gladiators had battled hard to secure the result they needed to mathematically confirm that they would be playing at Step 3 next season by beating Guiseley 2-1 thanks to a brace from Liam Hardy, including a 93rd minute winner.

He wanted Matlock to try and remain inbeaten for the rest of the campaign which before Tuesday, was a four match sequence, but a shambolic defensive display in the opening twenty five minutes saw them 3-0 down and virtually out of contention.

“We lost to a really good side, we couldn’t handle them particularly in the first half. They were too good for us but we helped them enormously by our inability to deal with set pieces. The first two goals were identical in the way they came about, the same kind of corner and the new gave a way a soft penalty which was a penalty by the way. We were three down before we knew it. The fourth was a really good goal and we reach half time needing to get some pride back, for the fans and the club. At least we did that in the second half.”

Atkins had challenged the team to try and go on a mini run and remain unbeaten in their final four matches after the Guiseley win but Matlock failed miserably.

“I think we need to be realistic, Gainsborough are a well drilled outfit brought about by a settled squad who have benefitted from a lot of time together on the training field. Gainsborough are presently in many ways what we as a club need to aspire to. The lads are obviously feeling low after that, but they have to get on with it, the games come thick and fast at this level. We’ll be ready for Saturday, it’s so disappointing to lose at home and in that fashion but football’s like that. As players they’ve got to lift themselves, you know in football that there’s always another game to play.”

It was a totally different post match feeling last Saturday.

“I’m glad that we got the job done by ourselves and didn’t have to rely on other teams; results, that’s what we were brought in for. By the same token I wasn’t pleased with the way we lost against Gainsborough/ We’ve got three games left now and we need to do everything we can to get good results for the club and the fans.”

Matlock play their last away game of the season on Saturday with a visit to Hyde for whom it is the final match of the season. Fifth placed Hyde know that nothing less than a win against Matlock will do if they are to stand any realistic chance of finishing on a play off spot. Ashton United, who visit the Proctor Cars Stadium on Monday night are in sixth place on the same number of points but having played two games fewer.

Matlock’s season concludes on Saturday week when they host Bradford (Park Avenue) who could already be relegated by then.

Jonny Margetts was a special guest at Matlodk’s game on Tuesday when he was presented with the Steven Greenhough Goalscorer of the Year award at half time. Margetts hit 25 goals for the Gladiators before leaving for King’s Lynn in January. A measure of how important Margetts was to the Matlock cause is shown by the fact that the top scorer still at the club is skipper John Johnston, with just 5 goals.