the npl

Weekly News | 2.8.23

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Weekly News | 2.8.23

Martin Carruthers was delighted with Matlock’s attacking performance in the 4-2 defeat by a strong Mansfield Town side at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Gladiators cut through the Stags defence to create a host of chances and could easily have won the match themselves. On the flip side four goals were conceded for the second game in succession, a statistic which causes Carruthers concern. Matlock were beaten 4-1 at Sheffield FC on Saturday, a game missed by Carruthers who was enjoying a short break.

“I thought it was a very very good performance against a very good full time side in Mansfield. We could have scored six or seven, we missed some golden chances. The quality of our crosses into the box again pleased me, our forward play and our wingers were excellent. I also like the way we kept our shape out of possession. If we can play like that, showing the same attacking prowess at our level, a lot of teams won’t be able to live with us.”

Carruthers acknowledges improvements are needed defensively.

“We’ve got to tighten up at the back for sure, we’ve conceded five goals in two games with one ball straight over the top of us, we’ve got to cut that out, We went with a back three on Saturday, the lads aren’t used to it and we’ve had Ioan Evans away. Effective communication’s been missing so we’ll have to work at that in training so we can get back to keeping clean sheets again.”

Both midfielder Andrew Wright and striker Jonny Margetts sat out the Mansfield clash with minor injuries but both are expected to be back in the squad for Friday night’s final friendly at Belper Town when the Gladiators and the Nailers will be out to lift the Caroline Melbourne Cup in memory of a loyal Belper follower who passed away several years ago.

Ideally Carruthers would want to field as close as possible the team that he will be looking to start the season’s NPL Premier Division opener at home to Bamber Bridge on Saturday week. But with Ioan Evans still away on holiday and Sam Hooper away in Gibraltar for ten days, that does not look like being possible.

“Wrighty and Jonny Margetts should be okay for Friday and we’ll have to take a look at Nat Crofts at training on Thursday to see if he’s going to be fit enough for Friday. We know it’s going to be a tough game to finish off our pre season, hopefully we’ll have everyone available by the time the 12 August comes around, I can’t wait to be able to put a full squad out.”

The Gladiators will now be away on both days over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Their scheduled home meeting with Marine has been switched to Crosby with Marine coming down to Matlock on Easter Saturday.

“It’s unfortunate but there’s little we can do on this occasion” said Matlock Chairman Jason Beaumont reflecting on the fact that the Marine game clashed with a cricket league fixture for Matlock and Cromford Meadows Cricket Club..

“To be fair to them, their league only allows them to rearrange a certain amount of games and they had already helped us out tremendously by letting us play Derby at Causeway Lane on a Saturday. With the value of that game to the football club, we were very grateful to them for accommodating us. They also helped us out with the Bamber Bridge game by moving a fixture so we’ll go to Marine on August 26 and Marine will come to us on March 30. We must also put on record our thanks to Marine for agreeing to the switch in fixtures.”

Ian Richardson