the npl

Weekly News | 27.12.23

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Weekly News | 27.12.23

A1-1 home draw against Morpeth Town wasn't the start to the festive period that Matlock boss Martin Carruthers was looking for, but the 0-1 win at his former club Ilkeston Town on Boxing Day more than made up for the weekend's disappointment.

Jonny Margetts scored in both games to take his tally to 31 league and Cup goals for the season. He gave Matlock the lead on Saturday only for the Highwaymen to draw level when goalkeeper Saul Deeney made a rare but calamitous error as a deflected soft shot from Andrew Johnson squirmed under him.

"Saul's saved us on many occasions, the fact we didn't win the game is down to people other than Saul not doing their jobs so it was very frustrating to say the least " said Carruthers.

"Thankfully we got back on course on Boxing Day. It was nice to return to one of my former clubs as Matlock Town manager and get the win. Over the ninety minutes we were the better side in a tight game, so three points and a clean sheet was just what we wanted. Everyone stepped up to the plate, there were some great performances out there, Evo at the back was massive and we worked hard in midfield. So a good afternoon and we've got to take that performance into Saturdays game with Stafford."

Stafford come to the Proctor Cars Stadium in a game brought forward 48 hours from New Year's Day. Matlock officials are hoping for a four figure gate with local EFL clubs and the likes of Chesterfield, Buxton and Alfreton not playing.

Despite being bottom of the table, Stafford will no doubt be well supported, Rangers being buoyed by a great 4-0 home win over Gainsborough Trinity on Boxing Day.

"Stafford are fighting for their lives and their performances seem to have got better since Dave Cook took over as manager. So we need to be wary of the challenge that faces us and make sure we all do our jobs."

Matlock might be able to recall Adam Yates to their defence for the last game of 2023, Yates having missed the last two games with a hamstring complaint sustained at Bamber Bridge on December 16. Jamie Sharman will also be back in contention having now completed his two match ban following his red card at Bamber Bridge.

"Hopefully with lads returning we should have a virtually full squad available. Yates coming back is obviously a big boost for us and Connor Dimiao has been on the bench , we'll Continue to monitor his progress. One thing's for sure we'll need everyone as the season progresses. Tuesday's win keeps us in the mix for the play offs, we need to put together a run of wins now."

Matlock were we'll backed at the New Manor Ground with a number of fans donning fancy dress.

"I'm really pleased that we've given them something to cheer, once again they were absolutely magnificent, really getting behind us and the players, Wayne and me can't thank them enough."

Ian Richardson