the npl

Weekly News | 4.10.23

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Weekly News | 4.10.23

Martin Carruthers gave a scathing assessment of his side’s performance after a defensive horror show saw them lose 5-3 at Gainsborough on Tuesday night.

He labelled the performance as “totally unacceptable” and questioned the desire of many I what turned out to be another tale of woe on the road for the Gladiators.

Carruthers’ men were 3-0 down inside seventeen minutes and 5-1 down eleven minutes into the second half before rallying against a hard working side who were also susceptible in defence. Having won 3-0 at whipping boys Marske on Saturday, any hopes of building on that result quickly evaporated at the Northolme.

Speaking on Wednesday morning an angry Carruthers said “I didn’t want to talk on Tuesday as I’d probably have said something I regretted. It was a totally unacceptable performance, the players let the fans down and the whole club down. There was a total lack of desire to defend properly, to concede in the manner we did was unacceptable. We were 3-0 down in 17 minutes, people needed to take responsibility and hold their hands up.It was a great surface, a great pitch, the players had the chance to show just what they can do but too many of them just didn’t show the desire needed. I take responsibility for that, they’re my players.”

The manner of the defeat looks to be the final straw for Carruthers who says that changes must now be made to the squad.

“I’ve now got to accept that some of the players aren’t up to the job, I’ll have to make changes. Having a good game one in four isn’t anywhere near good enough, so now I have to shake the bag up and bring in three, four, five new faces. It was embarrassing, that was the worst defensive display I’ve been involved in during my whole career. We said at half time at 3-1 we can still get something from the game but then two more avoidable goals, they were all avoidable on the night made it five, The only positive is that we didn’t roll over after that and could have scored a few more than the two we got, it could actually have been 7-7 at the end!”

So attention turns now to the Isuzu FA Trophy with Southern League Division One Central leaders Bedford Town due at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday. Carruthers recognises the importance of the match, not only from making progress in a national competition that over the years the Gladiators have fared reasonably well in, but erasing the nightmare of Tuesday night. But they face an Eagles side top of the league, boasting a 100 per cent record.

“It’s a huge game, not only with it being the FA Trophy which we want to do well in but after a performance like Tuesday’s the players have to produce. Bedford are in good form at the top of their league so they’ll come to us full of confidence. From our point of view, the desire, the commitment, the want to wear a Matlock Town shirt has to be seen. There can be no repeat of Tuesday, they need to go out and show to the fans what playing for this club means to them.”

Carruthers will need to check on strikers Karl Demidh and Reece Styche ahead of the clash. Demidh missed out in midweek with a thigh injury while Styche was helped off at the end of the Gainsborough defeat after collapsing to the turf in agony after a break down the left. Ewan Catt has covid, so Carruthers’ options again look to be limited.

“I’ll have to see Andy (Henson) to see what the chances are for Karl and Stychey, Zander (Alex Duhameau) and Archie (White) are back training with Chesterfield, so again we need to see how they are. But after Tuesday I’ll be on the phone constantly trying to bring people in, we need one or two fresh bodies for the weekend.”

Ian Richardson