the npl

Weekly News | 31.1.24

Posted on
Weekly News | 31.1.24

Matlock manager Martin Carruthers has emphasised the need for his Matlock Town side to go on a good run and a three match winning streak, two in the league, has them going on the right lines.

The Gladiators returned to action after a weather enforced fortnights break with a 3-0 home league win against FC United of Manchester to follow on from a 3-1 win at Atherton Colleries before the intervention from the elements. Then on Tuesday night Matlock edged through to the semi finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup with a 3-2 success over Southern League Premier Central Mickleover at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

With a tricky trip to Lancaster City awaiting them this weekend, Carruthers and the Matlock faithful will be clearly hoping for more of the same.

He was completely satisfied with the convincing victory against FC United but on Tuesday it was more of a sense of relief as his side made hard work of sealing a semi final clash with either Buxton or Derby County U21’s who meet at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium this coming Tuesday.

“I was absolutely delighted with us on Saturday, it was a complete all round performance for we stuck to our game plan, executed it perfectly from minute one to the death. We stopped them playing, they’re a good side if you let them play and what was great was to bounce back to winning form at home after our not so good results at Matlock recently.”

Man of the match proved to be a tricky task with any number of players contesting the award.

“There were so many good performances, mostly you get say two or three very good displays but on Saturday eight or nine of them were at the same very high level. They were fantastic as was our shape and our solidity. It was the best home performance probably since I came to the club. We moved JJ (John Johnston) up into attack after trying him out in training and he scored a goal and could have had a couple more. Joe West scored again and it shows what goals can do to a player’s confidence.”

West scored for the third consecutive home game while on Tuesday Fin Armond and Harry Wood netted their first goals for Matlock under Carruthers who says a slow start put Matlock in trouble despite creating two great chances which would have given them a commanding early advantage.

“We didn’t start the game well, we couldn’t cope with Mickleover’s movement and shape and there was a danger when we went 2-0 down that we could capitulate. But we got one back before half time and we said if we can get another one then we could then go on and win. I thought we were dogged and determined, there were some heavy legs out there on a heavy pitch but we got the job done which after all is the main thing. There’s some sore legs now so we’ve got to get everyone right for Lancaster away on Saturday.”

Striker Scott Boden, winger Callum Moore and Midfielder Michael Williams were all cup tied for the Senior Cup game having represented Buxton, Derby County and Clay Cross Town respectively earlier in the competition but all three will be added to the squad for the trip to the Giant Axe.

“It’s another big game, always a difficult place to go to but look, we’ve won three out of our last four on the road so there’s no reason why we can’t go there and come home with another win. It’ll not be easy but now’s the time to string a lot of good results together.”

After the trip to Lancaster, Town are back on home soil on Tuesday when Gainsborough Trinity are the visitors, the original scheduled game being postponed due to a frozen pitch on January 20.

Carruthers hoped to have another striker on the books prior to last weekend’s game but he revealed that a deal fell through at the eleventh hour.

“We’d got a good lad lined up from a League Two club, we’d agreed everything but he then signed for another club late on Friday afternoon” Carruthers explained.

“It left us virtually no time to do anything else but I can assure the fans we’re working hard to strengthen us in attack.”

Carruthers though was pleased to promote three of the under 21 squad who signed first team forms on Monday. Central defender James Colbourne’s signing, dual registered with Wirksworth Ivanhoe unfortunately narrowly missed the 12 noon Monday deadline for him to feature in the squad to face Mickleover but midfielders Charlie Wood and Charlie Humphries’ forms beat the deadline and they were unused substitutes on Tuesday.

The Matlock boss was full of praise for the contribution the fans made in both home games over the last few days. The FC United of Manchester match attracted a crowd of 1.349, the highest of the day in the NPL and there was a special atmosphere with Reel Productions in attendance to produce the video for their Matlock Town song which featured footage of fans and players on the day. The Mickleover tie drew a more conservative 259 but again the home crowd was in fantastic voice throughout.

“The support and the atmosphere last Saturday was phenomenal, the best since I came to the club” Carruthers remarked.

“On Saturday both ours and FC United fans never stopped singing from the start to the finish. Our fans were brilliant as they were even on Tuesday night when we had a much smaller attendance, it’s a big thank you to them from me, Wayne and all the lads, the support they give us is tremendous.”