the npl

Weekly News | 19.1.22

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Weekly News | 19.1.22

Matlock Town moved five points clear at the top of the Pitching-In NPL Premier Division despite dropping two points in Tuesday night’s exciting home goalless draw with improving Scarborough Athletic on Tuesday night.

Matlock had won their previous four league matches, the Seadogs had won their last three, so something had to give and a draw was about fair.

“Ask me in April whether it was a good point” said Matlock boss Paul Phillips afterwards.

But few in the 723 crowd would have gone home disappointed despite the blank scoresheet.

“They’re the form team, they’re a good team and we knew it was a hard time to play them. We started well in the first fifteen/twenty minutes and we needed to score. When we didn’t the lads looked a bit despondent.”

Scarborough improved as the game went on and probably created the more clear cut chances with Matlock goalkeeper Joe Young impressing on his home debut.

Phillips thought Matlock’s attacking game lacked some variety.

“We weren’t aggressive enough around their box, I thought we were a bit too predictable at times. They had a couple of good chances, so did we, Alex Wiles can’t seem to buy a goal at the moment, tonight he had two good shots blocked. I thought we were a bit passive and beeded to be a bit more cute with our movement.

Phillips though was keen to take on Scarborough, the match having survived a precautionary 2 pm inspection after it had been frost covered for the entire morning.

“We’re now unbeaten in five, two clean sheets on the row which is good. We needed a test and we got it tonight, we’ll be better for it as it got rid of any ring rust we might have had. Joe did well in goals for us and we defended very well. It was a fair point, we’d have preferred three, we want to try and win every game, but sometimes not losing it is very important. As I said we needed to be more proactive higher up the pitch.”

Phillips had added to his squad after the weekend win at Witton with a double signing, bringing back former Matlock striker Marcus Marshall and recruiting winger Terry Hawkridge, both from Basford United. Both were given starts on Tuesday.

“Marshy needs two or three games to get up to speed having not played all that much lately, I thought Terry did really well, I think we saw what both players are going to bring for us.”

Phillips hinted that he may still add to his strike force if the right man became available.

“If a number nine becomes available, we’ll look at it. We’ve got Hughesy, Marshy can play there but we’ll keep our eyes open and see what happens.”

Matlock are in a run of tough and crucial fixtures at present. It’s first versus second on Saturday with a game at the Proctor Cars Stadium against Bamber Bridge with Town seeking a league double following a 4-2 win in Lancashire in September. Then next weekend they visit third placed South Shields.

“Bamber will be another tough test, Jamie Milligan’s done a fantastic job there. I feel because where we are teams will try to stop us so we need to ensure we’re not predictable and keep doing the things that have made us successful so far”

A look at the weekend’s games highlights Phillips claim that there is still a long way to go.

“There’s going to be a lot of twists and turns yet. Buxton go to Morpeth which will be a difficult game while South Shields are at Warrington so teams are going to drop points. As I’ve always said, we need to take care of our own business.”

Ian Richardson