the npl

Weekly News | 27.3.24

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Weekly News | 27.3.24

Matlock Town have made life just a little difficult for themselves after a poor run of just three league wins in the calendar year so far and having attained just four points from the last twenty four on offer.

Manager Martin Carruthers handed in his resignation on Monday as a man clearly upset by recent results, feeling he could take the club no further.

So now the Gladiators supporters will be looking to club legend Adam Yates and popular former gaffer Mark Atkins to stem the tide and come up with an upturn in fortunes as Matlock look for the five points which would mathematically secure their NPL Premier Division status with eight games to play.

Six of these are at the Proctor Cars Stadium where save from last weekend’s no show and a 5-1 defeat by Whitby, Matlock have been reasonably solid, winning six, drawing three and losing four.

Fourth placed Marine come to town on Saturday and Easter Monday sees a visit from Derbyshire neighbours Ilkeston Town. If Matlock could secure the points they need over Easter it would be a monkey off their back following play off qualification in the past two campaigns.

Can Matlock do it? The optimist inside us says yes, for as we have seen so often, anyone can beat anyone in which is an incredibly tight league. The realist will say that a huge improvement is required to have mission accomplished over Easter, it will be more likely a later survival secured date .

What Matlock fans ask as a minimum is one hundred per cent application and effort, qualities which were non existent last weekend.

So Yates and Atkins’ first task is to get back to basics as the younger of the managerial duo has emphasised in his first interview. Round pegs in round holes and making the experience of a game at the Lane a joy again after last seasons’ debacle.

Looking back at first games for new Matlock Town managers in recent years, the record is mixed.

Carruthers had the joint best first day result, a 4-0 Boxing Day thrashing of Belper in 2022. Earlier that season his predecessor Craig Elliott suffered a 2-1 defeat at FC United of Manchester. Paul Phillips first league game in charge was a 1-1 home draw with Hyde United on an emotional day when Jordan Sinnott was remembered after he had been tragically killed seven days earlier. Steve Kittrick managed a 1-0 home win over Bamber Bridge on the opening day of the 2019/20 season, Dave Hoole did even better with a 4-0 home win over Lancaster City after being given the job on a permanent basis in the summer of 2018. Dave Frecklington followed Hoole as Matlock went down 3-1 at Stalybridge Celtic.. Joint bosses Craig Hopkins and Glenn Kirkwood oversaw a scoreless draw at Corby Town in their first game. Mark Hume ;s opening game as boss saw a 1-0 home loss to Ashton United and when Atkins himself took charge for the first time, he witnessed a 3-1 defeat on a cold day at Frickley Athletic.

So can Yates and Atkins get off to a winning start? Marine are going well and will start out as favourites, but the new manager syndrome effect and all that, who knows?

A look at the fixture list as a whole sees Matlock’s remaining two away games being at top of the table Radcliffe and at fifth placed Hyde, given their general away form so far, anything gained on their travels will be viewed as a bonus.

Their best bet of picking up points remains at home. Ilkeston are much improved and will be out to avenge a 1-0 Matlock win at the New Manor Ground on Boxing Day. Some difficult home games are on the horizon, Ashton and Guiseley have proved to be strong this term inflicting heavy away defeats on the Gladiators. Gainsborough are in form at the moment but can be unpredictable. One thing for certain is that Matlock won’t want to leave it until the last day to be sure when Bradford Park Avenue visit.

The onus is on Matlock to get the job done with minimum fuss and as soon as possible.

Meanwhile Yates’ testimonial game, postponed on March 17 has been rearranged for Sunday 7 April ko 1pm.