Weekly News | 19.9.23
Not for the first time this season, Matlock manager Martin Carruthers bemoaned his team’s performance on the road as they fluffed their lines once again to depart the Emirates F A Cup with a 2-0 defeat at Stourbridge last Saturday.
The Gladiators went into the tie buoyed by banging home fifteen goals in their previous four matches and had seemingly shown improved form on their travels having won at Stafford Rangers and drawn at Gainsborough Trinity in their previous two away matches.
But they never got going at Stourbridge and conceding a goal inside nine minutes failed to help their cause.
Carruthers says the away performances were again addressed at Tuesday night’s training session and he says the players’ mentality on the road has to change.
“Six or seven of them simply weren’t at the races on Saturday, any team can’t afford that to happen if they’re going to be successful. I just can’t put my finger on it, how we can go from such a high in our home fixtures to the low we get to away from home. But, as bad as we played we still could have got something out of the game.”
Carruthers would be referring to the Jonny Margetts shot which struck the bar in the first half before a later Margetts shot was deflected wide, plus the denial of a blatant penalty for hand ball late in the opening period which saw Carruthers yellow carded for his protests.
“We can’t keep relying on Jonny Margetts to get us out of trouble, we need to stay in games and not concede and then try to nick a goal away from home. We have to be stronger mentally and be robust out of possession.”
The Town boss concedes that Matlock need a leader on the park to help guide them through tough periods.
“We talked about it on Tuesday, the lack of talking, communication and leaders on the park, we miss someone of the likes of Ryan Qualter. I’m trying to bring in an experienced midfield player who can dictate things for us but they’re very hard to find.”
In stark contrast, Matlock have again been good at home so far this season winning three of their four home league and cup matches and drawing the other but that record looks to be given a serious test on Saturday when in form Warrington Rylands visit the Proctor Cars Stadium (3pm). Rylands currently sit in third spot with only one loss in their opening seven league games, on the opening day at home to runaway leaders Radcliffe. They have drawn at Macclesfield and last weekend were impressive 4-0 winners at FC United of Manchester in the FA Cup.
“Rylands picked up at the end of last season and they’re going really well, a big powerful side, a very good side and we’ll need to have all eleven of our lads at the races to get the win we want. It’s our toughest home game of the season so far and I’ll be looking for a response from everyone for the club and also for the fans.”
Then on Tuesday it will be another test of Matlock’s credentials on the road at Worksop Town. The Tigers won the NPL Eastern Division at a canter last season being defeated in the league only once, on the opening day. Former Gladiators Liam Hughes, Terry Hawkridge and Jack Broadhead are likely to feature for the hosts.
“The games don’t get any easier do they?” asked Carruthers.
“Worksop are a very good footballing side, I know a lot of their players and again we’ll need to be on our game. Not performing away from home inevitably increases the pressure to get results in front of our own crowd but we can’t take that for granted. We need to get a good result against Rylands and hope to go to Worksop ready to be strong and resilient to try and get another good result.”
Carruthers should at least have more depth to his squad ahead of two tough tests. Striker Karl Demidh, who missed the Stourbridge defeat through family commitments trained on Tuesday and is likely to be back in contention for a recall. Ewan Catt was unwell but he has recovered and midfielder Sam Hooper has also returned to fitness. Long term injury absentees Archie White and Alex Duhameau who have yet to feature this term are expected to be challenging for a place by the end of the month.
“Then it’ll be a scrap for places, the players have been told, once they get the shirt they need to do all in their power to keep it “ said Carruthers who released the experienced Kemy Augustien late last week. Augustien has since joined Gresley Rovers.
Ashton United’s FA Cup replay victory at Atherton Colleries on Tuesday means that Matlock’s scheduled game at Hurst Cross on 30 September is now postponed. A replacement fixture is expected to be announced imminently.