the npl

Weekly News | 26.10.22

Posted on
Weekly News | 26.10.22

Chalk and cheese performance during the past week have seen Matlock gain three points out of six and be second in the Pitching In NPL Premier Division table as they approach a two and a half weeks break from league action.

The Gladiators were comfortably second best in a 3-1 defeat at Warrington Town on Saturday but on Tuesday night they looke3 a different animal altogether with a comprehensive 4-1 home win against Marske United..

It was a day to forget at Warrington . Matlock were three goals adrift by the 48th minute and despite creating some good opportunities afterwards, they only had substitute Kallan Murphy’s 89th minute consolation to take home with them. Injuries to captain Ryan Qualter and Brad Abbott added to their woes and it was a major surprise when Qualter lined up against Marske having tweeted that it was now time to rest and get his injured knee properly attended to.

Despite falling behind to a 14th minute penalty, the seventh they have conceded this season, Matlock came roaring back to secure the points through an AL Byrne penalty shortly afterwards and then later goals from Kallan Murphy, John Johnston and Jordan Barnett.

“It was definitely chalk and cheese, we were definitely as bad on Saturday as we were good tonight (Tuesday) and it was probably our best performance since I’ve been here” said Boss Craig Elliott.

“We looked exciting, we looked as if we’d score loads of goals. I’d questioned the players beforehand, I said go out there and entertain me, go out there and entertain the crowd.”

It had been a difficult preparation time for Elliott and his staff with Brad Abbott , although named as a substitute, ruled out through injury and Qualter, Mark Lees and Ioan Evans named in the starting eleven despite not being one hundred per cent. Add to the news that top scorer Alex Wiles had a break booked before the game, rearranged for a previously blank date from 1 October, it was a case of all hands to the pump in the Matlock camp.

So it makes the result and the performance on Tuesday even more satisfying.

“We started brilliantly and created some unbelievable chances that wouldn’t go in. Then we concede the penalty but we got back with one of our own and continued to be on the front foot against a very good side with some very good players. I was so pleased for Kallan (Murphy) when he got his goal. Kallan’s been unlucky, he’s had a knock or two so we left him out as he’s only a young lad who we need to look after. But he did well at Warrington when he came on and got his goal and tonight he looked fresh and bright. In fact I was very pleased with both lads up front, they held the ball up well and were a real threat.”

Elliott also picked out John Johnston who hit Matlock’s third goal early in the second half after missing a good chance minutes earlier.

“He’s missed a really good chance but JJ then put away the next one, he’s a really exciting player and I’m really pleased for him.”

So “bouncebackability” was the name of the game but Elliott wants Matlock to start showing more consistency once their league fixtures recommence.

“In this league the results are all over the place so it’s important to respond positively to a setback. The league’s mentally draining, anything can happen. But I’d like us to now show some consistency and get on a good run of results. The two weeks break we’ll have after Saturday will be mentally good, it’ll give us time for people to rest up and it’ll also give us some good time to reflect. We’re not miles away from where I’d like us to be, probably six or seven points short in the league so we need to start stringing some league wins together after the Stafford game.”

Elliott will be hoping that the squad can get through the home Isuzu FA Trophy clash with Stafford Rangers on Saturday when Wiles will be back without any further injuries . The Gladiators are next in action after Saturday at Hyde United on Saturday 12 November.

The Stafford game will bring back memories of FA Trophy matches with Rangers in the 1970’s. Holders Matlock visited Marston Road in a last sixteen tie in February 1976 and were beaten 2-1 and three years later after a 1-1 draw at Satfford, Matlock lost the home replay 2-1 aftewr fans had spent three nights shovelling heavy snow off the Causeway Lane pitch.

Only three points separate Matlock from tenth placed Stafford who have a game in hand so a tight affair is expected. It will be Rangers’ second visit of the season to the Proctor Cars Stadium, the Gladiators having won the league game by a 3-1 margin on September 6.

“I take the FA Trophy as it comes, obviously we want to get through as it can lead to bigger ties further down the line and help the club financially. But above all it’s a game I want to win to try to get that consistency I’ve talked about.”

There may be no first team action at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday week , but there is a beer, wine and gin festival at the ground which gets under way at 6 pm on Friday 4 November until late and then at noon on 5 November until late.

“We originally organised the festival for the South Shields game which was due to be played then as we know South Shields like coming to Matlock and they’d bring a good following with them But South Shields are in the FA Cup that day so we’ve decided to start earlier at noon and there’ll be one of our junior teams playing plus the FA Cup games on TV. We’re doing what we can to offer different events not only to our fans but for the people of Matlock so we hope that the event is well supported. Admission is just £5 to cover both days. There’s also a disco on the Saturday evening so we hope for a great turnout” said a Matlock spokesman.

Ian Richardson