the npl

Weekly News | 30.8.22

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Weekly News | 30.8.22

Paul Phillips believes Matlock are the underdogs despite having home advantage against fellow Derbyshire side Ilkeston Town in their Emirates FA Cup clash on Saturday (3pm)

Neither side have hit any great heights so far with Matlock having eight points from their six NPL Premier Division outings and the Robins managing a meagre four points from their opening six matches in the Pitching In Southern League Central Premier Division..

Ilkeston gained promotion in April after having won the NPL Midlands Division title, but due to their geographical location , they have been transferred into the Southern League.

The Matlock boss also remembers painfully the exit to Belper Town at the same stage last season..

“We can’t do much worse than last season can we?” he asked.

“I think we go into it as underdogs, it’ll be a difficult game for us, Ilkeston are a good side with some good players, they’ve spent big and we need to be ready for the challenge they’ll present. It’s a big game for the club and we need to be ready, what’s certain is that we’ve got to start putting our chances away.”

The failure to tuck away good opportunities has again come to the fore, Matlock winning 1-0 at Atherton on Saturday having missed a number of chances to make the game safe Before and after Alex Wiles’ 42nd minute scrambled winner. Then Matlock toiled on Monday before a last gasp free kick from Alex Byrne earned them a draw at home to Gainsborough Trinity.

“Not wanting to sound like a broken record but we’re creating good chances with outstanding crosses from Al Byrne and Jordan Barnett that we’re not putting away” said Phillips,

“That means we’re relying heavily on the lads at the back. Ryan Qualter, Ioan Evans and in the last two games Nico Degirolamo, who has hardly played recently, have been magnificent. We as a management team have tried everything to solve the problem, we even put Reece (Kendall) up front alongside Callum Chippendale who despite being a midfielder has done tremendously well up there. But we’re saying the same thing every game and we have to look at the lads who we’ve brought in and ask whether they are going to find the amswer. This is something for me to sort out. We can’t keep on needing twelve chances to score one goal, against Gainsborough and no disrespect to them we should be beating them”.

The statistics show that Matlock have found the net only four times in their six league games to date.

But captain Ryan Qualter put a different slant on Matlock’s bank holiday results.

“Maybe it wasn’t the result we deserved on Monday but four points on a Bank Holiday weekend ‘s a decent return.”

The standings after the completion of the August fixtures sees the Gladiators in 12th spot having won two, drawn two and lost two of their games.

Leading the table are Matlock’s next opponents in the league, Stafford Rangers who FA Cup replays excepted, are due to visit the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night,

Rangers did a league double over Matlock last term, so the Gladiators will be desperate to see a change in fortunes this season.

Ian Richardson