the npl

Weekly News | 23.1.24

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Weekly News | 23.1.24

Having had their last three games postponed, the big news to emerge from the Proctor Cars Stadium in the last week has been the shock move of top scorer Jonny Margetts who has accepted a full time deal from National League North King’s Lynn Town.

It substantially diminished Matlock’s attacking prowess with Margetts scoring 21 of the 40 league goals the Gladiators have registered this term; hence there being a need to bring in a replacement as a matter of urgency. Only last week manager Martin Carruthers was speaking with relish of having new signing Scott Boden and Margetts in tandem, both making up all of the goals Matlock scored in the 3-1 win at Atherton Colleries on Boden’s full debut.

“Replacing Margs is impossible. We’re lucky now we managed to get Scott Boden over the line, we know he can score goals. But you can’t rely on one person to find you the goals, we need everyone contributing, we need to make the most of set pieces and get our midfielders scoring some goals.”

Carruthers is working hard and is confident of bringing in a forward prior to this weekend’s home clash with FC United of Manchester. One new addition has been the loan signing of full back or winger Callum Moore from Derby County.

The Matlock boss was disappointed to see the last three games falling foul of the weather. The Derbyshire Senior Cup home quarter final with Mickleover last Tuesday week and the home league meeting with Gainsborough Trinity both fell foul of a frozen Proctor Cars Stadium pitch before Tuesday night’s trip to Whitby Town was postponed for a third time this season with the Turnbull Ground waterlogged following Storm Isha with further problems anticipated as Storm Jocelyn was set to follow.

“It was really frustrating for we wanted to keep playing after the win at Atherton. As we saw a few weeks ago, postponements affect momentum, the Mickleover and Gainsborough matches were ones we felt were very winnable ahead of a trip to Whitby, I know some other clubs are in the same boat but it affected us badly as we never got going away at Bamber Bridge after two or three weeks without playing. Now we have to train hard and be ready to try and get three points against FC United.”

Saturday sees the two clubs locked together in the bottom half of the NPL Premier Division table, the Gladiators in 15th place, ahead of the Reds on goal difference. Both clubs have 31 points with United having played a game more. Carruthers expects an entertaining game, the clubs having already met at Broadhurst Park two months ago when a brace from Karl Demidh and a Nathan Whitehead header gave Town a 3-0 lead before United rallied to score twice as Matlock won 3-2. Carruthers says he wants his side to be positive from the off as they try to make up lost ground against teams vying for a play off place.

“FC are a good footballing side, we got a great result at their place and we’ll be looking to do the double. I want us to be on the front foot from the start, it’ll be all out attack. We know their threats, they’re very good going forward. It’s a huge game, if we can win our games in hand then we’ll be seven points behind the play off places, we have to have hope, we’ve got to keep believing!”

Only midfielder Olly Clark looks certain to miss the FC United tie through suspension following his red card at Atherton.

On Tuesday Matlock and Mickleover will try for a second time to settle the Derbyshire Senior Cup quarter final, the winners having been drawn to face either Buxton or Derby County under 23’s. If Buxton get through the semi final tie would be at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium but Derby would travel to either Matlock or Mickleover if they were to win through.

“Mickleover’s another huge match, if we can get through this one and then the semi, it would give us a good chance of winning the trophy (Heanor Town host Long Eaton United in the other semi final). We want to win on Tuesday, it would be great to win again after that and reach the final but it has to be one game at a time.”

Back to the FC United clash, this game usually attracts a four figure crowd to the Proctor Cars Stadium and Reel Productions who was responsible for the Christmas song Fairytale Of Matlock will be present to produce their new Matlock Town FC video which will also showcase Matlock Town FC. Fans of both clubs are being encouraged to turn up early and participate in the video and to this end those arriving between 12 noon and 1 pm will be admitted at the reduced rate of £10 adults, £6 concessions.

Ian Richardson