the npl

Weekly News | 21.9.22

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Weekly News | 21.9.22

Matlock boss Craig Elliott says his side’s annoying habit of conceding the first goal is hampering their hopes of winning games.

The Gladiators have conceded first in all three of his matches in charge and he says it is something that his side need to stop.

“There were penalties at FC United and at home last Saturday and an own goal at Guiseley, all of which were preventable “ said Elliott.

“Football games are won in both boxes, we’ve got to stop giving away soft goals and then at the other end show the desire to get on the end of some excellent balls that are coming across the box.”

Elliott’s frustration is understandable. Against FC United of Manchester after conceding the spot kick they replied swiftly though Alex Wiles and against Warrington Rylands last weekend, after giving away the spot kick they were back on level terms by half time and went on to deservedly win 4-2.

But they were not so fortunate at Nethermoor Park. Reece Kendall’s own goal, freakish as it may have been, came a minute from the interval and Matlock left it too late to gain any momentum, only starting to show their true potential when two goals down.

“It was a disappointing result, I thought we were good for large spells but very sluggish in those fifteen minutes after half time. We were a little slow getting going at the start of the game but I thought there was nothing in it, but we got stronger and I thought there was only one team going to score. Once Guiseley had gone in front their tails were up and we didn’t deal with it “ Elliott continued.

“It was a freak own goal but goals change games, they got stronger, we went the other way. Once the second goal went in we realised that we had to be up for it, we played some good stuff and had some good chances.”

A win on Tuesday would have put Matlock second, but it seems nobody looks capable of challenging top of the table South Shields at present as much of the rest of the division appears to be relatively even.

Elliott admitted that Matlock’s away form is worrying, with four defeats out of five on their travels this season.

“That puts pressure on you to win your home games so when we play Lancaster at home on Saturday we’ve got to be looking to get back to winning ways. We played well against Rylands last week but again we went behind. It’d be nice to get the first goal and see where that takes us for a change.”

The Matlock boss said last week that “we’ll be in for a difficult two or three weeks” and he reiterated that sentiment as the game come thick and fast. After Saturday’s Lancaster game at the Proctor Cars Stadium, Matlock are away for the third successive midweek, at Ashton United.

“It’s going to be difficult as we work to change the squad and there’s the transition for the lads as they get used to the way I want to play. I’ve taken a look at what we’ve got. Jake Day’s gone to Whitby and Adam Blakeley, Leigh Whelan and Nico de Girolamo aren’t part of my plans and they go with my best wishes. I’m trying to get a blank canvas so we can move forward. Players will come in.”

Elliott has already brought two players to the club in striker Shaun Tuton, who knows Matlock well, this being his third spell with the Gladiators after eight and a half years away. Tuton is joined by attacking midfielder Dom McHale who is on loan from Radcliffe.

McHale made his debut at Guiseley but suffered a back injury during the first half which restricted his movement as the game wore on. He is expected to recover in time for Lancaster when Jordan Barnett will be available again after serving a one match ban.,

Former assistant manager Kayde Coppin left the club last week as Elliott has brought in his own backroom staff with John McDermott, who played 647 games in twenty years for Grimsby Town and Richard Boryszcuk as assistant managers. Both have worked under Elliott previously.

Ian Richardson