the npl

Weekly News | 22.11.23

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Weekly News | 22.11.23

It’s been a difficult few days for Matlock Town after securing five wins on the trot prior to last weekend’s FA Trophy exit at National League North Curzon Ashton.

The Gladiators lost their cup tie 2-0 but more damaging was the hamstring injury picked up by top goalscorer Jonny Margetts who had racked up an incredible 28 goals in all competitions this season.

Margetts pulled up just ten minutes into the game at the Tameside Stadium and was immediately substituted. Initial thoughts were possibly a four weeks absence but Margetts had more encouraging news when he spoke after the 4-0 defeat at Guiseley on Tuesday.

“I’m looking at around the 9th of December so realistically with no game for us that day, I’m looking at Shirebrook on the 13th. I just felt it go a bit early on, it had been a tough game against Hyde on a heavy pitch and the best thing for me was to come off and not aggravate it which turns out to be for the best. It’s going ok and I don’t intend to be missing for too long.”

The cup tie itself had already got off to a bad start for the Gladiators who conceded a sloppy goal after only four minutes, the second Curzon goal being a stoppage time penalty.

So manager Martin Carruthers game plan suffered two early setbacks.

“It was important we stayed in the game, I’d spoken with my mate up at Blyth Spartans who’d played them on Tuesday night and Blyth had pressed high and got picked off, so we had to sit in there. I thought our shape was really good and we could have nicked a goal in the second half, especially when Zander (Alex Duhameau) went through and should have scored, that should have been 1-1 and we’d have at least got a penalty shoot out against a very good side.”

Matlock’s exit from the competition coupled with Macclesfield’s victory at Alfreton leaves Town without a game on December 9 which is the date for the next round of the Trophy which has ironically given Macclesfield a trip to Curzon Ashton!

The Curzon game was the first of three away matches in a week and the second of those did not go well for Matlock at Guiseley. The 4-0 loss was not a fair reflection of the play with Matlock contributing a lot to the game but the match was decided in the respective penalty boxes. It meant that Guiseley moved into the play-off places while the Gladiators, who could have gone fourth with a win, dropped from sixth to eighth spot.

“It was never a 4-0 game, but it’s very frustrating that all four goals could and should have been avoided. The first looked yards offside in the build up but we stopped and you can’t do that. Then we gave away two sloppy goals in the second half before the last one when we conceded a stupid free kick and the ball’s dropped for their lad to blast in. The scoreline flattered Guiseley, we were 1-0 down at half time when we could and probably should have been in front. We had some very good chances, notably Nathan Whitehead’s but we’ve conceded a goal from a ball over the top. We said at half time if we could get the next goal we could go on and win it, we pushed them back and were unlucky not to get the equaliser before conceding another poor goal.”

The last of the trio of games on the road is at FC United of Manchester on Saturday who beat Guiseley 3-2 at Broadhurst Park last weekend before grabbing a point in a 3-3 draw at Bamber Bridge on Tuesday evening.

“We’ve got to take Tuesday’s result on the chin but we can’t keep conceding goals if we’re going to win matches. We could have gone fourth. We can’t give teams a lift , that’s what happened at Guiseley. We’d been good defensively recently so it’s very disappointing to concede poor goals again like we ‘ve done in the last two or three games. I’m not disappointed in the performance we put in on Tuesday, we also needed that extra bit of desire to finish the chances off. So we’ve got to bounce back after a tough time, it’s another away game and we’ve got to put right what happened on Tuesday, we need to improve and show the fans we’ve got what it takes away from home.”

There was a surprise at Guiseley when midfielder Michael Williams made his first appearance in a Matlock shirt since the 2018/19 season. Williams left Matlock during the summer of 2019 when it became apparent he was not part of manager Steve Kittrick’s plans, joining Sheffield and then Frickley before playing locally.

He has been at Northern Counties East League Division One Clay Cross Town this season and Carruthers says Williams (30) will be a good acquisition.

“We’ve seen what an impact bringing the likes of the experienced Adam Yates and Nathan Whitehead in has made. I thought he did very well at Guiseley, he obviously tired towards the end but he’d put in a good shift and will only get better “ Carruthers added.

Meanwhile popular defender Adam Yates made his 550th Matlock appearance at Guiseley.

IAN RICHARDSON