the npl

Weekly News | 19.7.23

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Weekly News | 19.7.23

Matlock manager Martin Carruthers is upbeat for the coming campaign after his side won their third pre season match on the trot on Tuesday evening.

Defeats by Chesterfield and Derby County first team squads were probably predictable although the 9-0 margin against the Spireites probably wasn’t, but since then the Gladiators beat Buxton at home last Wednesday through a Karl Demidh penalty to lift the Markovitz Cup, won 3-0 at Retford United on Saturday thanks to a Harry Wakefield hat-trick before knocking six past a youthful Notts County side on Tuesday when Jonny Margetts scored a hat=trick, Wakefield headed two more with Olly Clark completing the rout.

So Carruthers and his merry men are set for a seaside trip to United Counties League Premier North outfit Skegness Town on Saturday with the boss being generally content with what he has seen so far. He also maintains its still work in progress for the Gladiators ahead of their opening NPL outing at home to Bamber Bridge on August 12.

“Although it was Buxton’s first match of pre season they had some decent players out there and we had a lot out so to win was very satisfying. Then at Retford I thought we gave a very professional performance although for the first twenty five minutes I thought Retford were the better side. We had the wind with us but we didn’t get the ball forward quickly enough, the gaps between the units were too big. But once we got organised, we played some good stuff with players linking up really well. I also got the chance to look at some players and some of them did really well, it was good to get some goals and get a clean sheet.”

The point about scoring goals was prevalent when Carruthers discussed the Notts County performance.

“You need the wins and the confidence that comes from scoring goals. Harry (Wakefield) got three on Saturday and two more tonight, that will do him the world of good. Harry’s a goalscorer, so is Jonno who got off the mark, scoring goals breeds confidence. We scored some great goals from set pieces which pleases me because ewe put a lot of time and effort into it, the lads work hard on these things. I was also pleased with the amount of crosses we were putting in which gives the strikers a decent chance of scoring, don’t forget, 75% of goals scored come from crosses and lads like Jonno Margetts, Harry and Reece Styche when he’s back will benefit from them.”

Carruthers expressed a little displeasure at conceding a sloppy goal early in the second half.

“We were 5-0 up and we said to the lads let’s keep on working hard and keep a clean sheet. Unfortunately we didn’t do that and were caught napping once or twice from their counter attacks so there’s things to work on and improve.”

But generally Carruthers is happy with the way the pre season is developing.

“We’re all looking forward to Skegness on Saturday when we should have 95 per cent of the squad available. Reece Styche is back and it was good to see Olly Clark back in against Notts County. It’ll be nice to get everyone fit so we can get some cohesion. Skegness will be great for team bonding, we’re staying the night on Saturday, having a good team spirit is so important and that’s why this was planned.. We then planned the next week off as far as playing games is concerned, we’ll have two good training sessions , play Sheffield on the following weekend and then prepare for Mansfield at home and Belper away when we hope to have as near our opening day squad as possible, injuries permitting.”

The final pre season game at Belper when the Gladiators and the Nailers contest the Caroline Melbourne Cup has been brought forward from Saturday 5 to Friday 4 August with a 7.45 pm kick off.

Meanwhile Matlock have signed youngster Ewan Catt who is a left sided attacker. Catt who is also part of James Holmes’ under 21 squad was at Merseyside club Litherland Remyca in the North West Counties League Premier Division last season and featured in both friendlies against both Chesterfield and Derby but was forced off after five minutes versus following an aerial collision.

“We’re pleased to have Ewan on board, he’s shown up well so far. We’re still talking to two or three more players ahead of the season starting” Carruthers concluded.

Ian Richardson