Weekly News | 24.8.22
It’s not been the start Paul Phillips or the Matlock faithful would have hoped for, with just four points from four games played, 14th spot and two goals scored, but the Matlock boss saw enough in the 1-1 draw with Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday night to be encouraged for the rest of the season.
“If we play with that intensity in the next twenty or so games, then we’ll not be far off” Phillips insisted.
After their opening day victory at home to Whitby Town, Matlock were defeated at Radcliffe and then by 2-0 at Morpeth Town last weekend before securing a point against the Celts. Jordan Barnett notched a 58th minute equaliser to cancel out a well struck Ben Woods free kick two minutes before the interval.
“Only one team wanted to win that match, I think Stalybridge didn’t have any other shots apart from the free kick they scored. They came here to waste time and that shows that clubs coming here know that it will be a hell of a result for them, we’re a team they want to stop, we’re a scalp for a lot of teams now I think the goalkeeper wasted twenty five minutes on his own!”
Phillips was again frustrated with the result but happy with the team’s performance.
“Al Byrne and Jordan Barnett put loads of quality balls into the box, we’ve got to finish those off. Then we get a genuine goal ruled out from another excellent corner, I don’t know what the referee’s seen but then reaction of the spectators at the end when the officials left the field tells it’s own story. I’d be concerned if we weren’t making the chances, maybe there’s a bit of a hangover from the play off disappointment, look at South Shields, they have only two more points than us and are favourites for the league. I think we’re creating a lot more chances than we were doing towards the ned of last season.”
The Matlock chief continues to be frustrated regarding the delay in international clearance being granted for striker Kallan Whelan and midfielder Leigh Whelan plus another striker.
“It’d be nice to have people waiting in the wings to take the pressure off the likes of Jake Day , Callum Chippendale and Alex Wiles. I think Alex Wiles has been outstanding and Callum Chippendale has been magnificent, they’d run through a brick wall for you. Jordan Barnett’s also been terrific. As a club and a set of players we’ve got to remain positive. We’re not playing badly although I thought we weren’t aggressive enough up at Morpeth.”
Matlock will now be hoping for a productive August Bank Holiday weekend and six points must be the target.
A trip on Saturday to Atherton Colleries who did the double over the Gladiators last season despite finishing in the bottom six is followed by a home clash with Gainsborough Trinity on Monday afternoon (3pm).
“We’ve got to go and get three points on Saturday to try and set us up for Monday’s game”” Phillips added.
“We’ve got to show the same appetite as we did on Tuesday night, I can’t knock them for how they played and it’s a point we’ve made in the dressing room afterwards. There’s been a great crowd in (594) for a Tuesday night game and I think they appreciated the lads had tried their best and left everything out there on the pitch .”
Phillips though reiterated the need for the Gladiators to be more lethal in front of goal.
Centre forwards or number tens , whatever they want to call themselves these days get credited for scoring goals and we’re not doing that, Jorome Slew’s got a goal, Jordan’s got one but if I need to bring another forward in I’ll bring one in, we’re not good enough in front of goal, we need that end product.”
After the Bank Holiday programme attention will turn to the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round with Matlock receiving a home draw, a derby game with Southern League Premier Central neighbours Ilkeston Town. The Robins won the Midlands Division of the NPL last season but have been relocated to the Southern League. It is a game which could attract a four figure gate.