the npl

Weekly News | 28.2.24

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Weekly News | 28.2.24

​Out-of-form Matlock Town go into this weekend’s home clash with play-off-chasing Ashton United searching for both goals and points after a four-match league run which has yielded only one point.​

The Gladiators now lie in an unhealthy 16th spot and while they remain comfortably clear of the bottom four, they are acutely aware that they need to pick up points quickly to cheer their fans and steer their way back into the top half of the table.

They lost 5-0 in a midweek visit to Hurst Cross last October, one of a number of poor away results this season, but their home form has been generally good.

This is amplified by a good scoreless draw against a big spending Worksop outfit in their last home game a fortnight ago which was followed by a lacklustre display at Workington last weekend in a 2-1 loss, much to the frustration of boss Martin Carruthers.

He said “Our away results are down to the lads’ mentality, they do very well at home but when they go away we just don’t seem to perform in the same way. At Workington about nine of the 11 weren’t at the races when we know that to win games in this league you need nine out of the eleven performing well.

"It was a long journey but we have to deal with it, we’re inconsistent and that’s something that the players have to address. The performance was unacceptable and we need to ruffle a few feathers.”

Looking ahead to Ashton and Tuesday’s trip to Whitby Town, Carruthers says it is up to the players to provide a positive response. Having given Curtis Durose, on loan from Rotherham a debut at Borough Park, he brought in two more loanees with Jack Goodman and Tavonga Kuleya from Doncaster Rovers.

Goodman nearly joined Matlock last month before a change of plan looked to be seeing him join Northern Irish club Linfield. But that never materialised and Carruthers jumped at the chance to sign him when he became available again. The Matlock manager says that the double signing should provide the club with a much needed boost.

He said: “We’ve signed new players and nobody should take their places for granted. We want to put a run together and finish off the season well, we have twice as many home games as away (8/4) and we need to try and win as many of these as we can, plus of course improve our away form.”

Midfielders Nathan Whitehead and Michael Williams, however, look like being out for some time yet.

“Willow’s hamstring will see him miss the next four to five weeks while Nathan might be fit for the Lancaster game on March 9,” Carruthers confirmed.

Two familiar faces could be in the Ashton line up on Saturday. Winger Al Byrne, whose deadly set pieces and crosses created a whole host of opportunities and goals for Matlock during his three years with the Gladiators, should receive a warm welcome with Matlock knowing all too well the danger he could pose. Brad Abbott, whose season was ruined by a broken leg last term, may also feature.

Meanwhile, as the squad trained under the watchful eye of assistant boss Wayne Hallcro on Tuesday, Carruthers was part of the panel which also consisted of chairman Jay Beaumont and treasurer Scott Bradshaw, to answer a variety of questions asked by the club’s fan base.

“It was another great evening, well attended and I hope it gave the fans an insight in what happens at the football club,” said Carruthers who said during the forum that Matlock is by far the best club he has been with as a manager.

“It’s been a disappointing season for a variety of reasons but the support has been magnificent both home and away and in the last two home games the fans have been phenomenal, so a big thank you to them for their support at our games and for turning up to the forum.”