the npl

Weekly News | 5.10.22

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Weekly News | 5.10.22

Jamie Sharman came in from the cold to replace skipper Ryan Qualter in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Nantwich Town and drew rich praise from his manager Craig Elliott.

He knew what to expect from the former Chesterfield central defender who scarcely put a foot wrong in the ninety minutes.

“I know Jamie really well he came to Boston on trial while I was there and when I’ve seen him play for Matlock I think he’s always done really well and on Saturday he was by far the man of the match” said Elliott who hinted that Sharman may well be in the Gladiators side again this Saturday when Sutton Coldfield Town visit the Proctor Cars Stadium in the third qualifying round of the Isuzu FA Trophy.

Injuries have hit Matlock with Kallan Murphy joining Qualter on the bench against Nantwich and while there are hopes that Qualter may be back on Saturday, Ioan Evans looks likely to be out after being forced off with hamstring trouble last weekend.

“There’s lots of little knocks, Kallan had a bad ankle and a black eye while Qualts had a bad knee but we’re hoping they’ll both be okay for Saturday. But Ioan’s really struggling with his hamstring and we’ve other lads with bumps and bruises which we’ll have to look at in training. It’s to be expected really having had a lot of games in such a short space of time.”

Elliott agreed that a draw was a fair result against Nantwich, Matlock again conceding first and from a needless penalty on the stroke of half time. Reece Kendall headed in an equaLiser for his second goal of the season five minutes into the second half.

“We were the better side before half time and they had the better of the second half so we can’t complain with the result” said Elliott, who like the Matlock officials, was delighted with the excellent crowd of 872.

“It was a fantastic turnout, I’m only disappointed that we couldn’t play the attacking football I wanted us to play, but I’m asking the fans to bear with us, we’re working very hard behind the scenes not only with the good group of players we have here, but also we’re looking at bringing some lads in. We’re hoping to have some in for Saturday but it’s not easy at the moment with people tied up on contracts. You also have to be careful with loans, players are on loan for a reason so it’s vitally important we don’t sign the “wrong” kind of player, we can’t bring people in just for the sake of it, we’ve got to be sure they’re better than what we’ve got.”

Having made a very early exit from the FA Cup for the second season running, the Gladiators will again be wanting to have a decent run in the Trophy. Their record in the competition in recent seasons is decent, last term they beat Rushden & Diamonds, Rushall Olympic and Marske United before going down to a last gasp goal at home to York City.

Sutton Coldfield are eleventh in the NPL Midlands Division and will be buoyed by a midweek 6-0 home win against St Neots Town. They have already beaten Grantham Town and Midland Division table toppers Halesowen Town in the Trophy this season.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a league game, a Trophy game , an FA Cup game or a County Cup match, I just want to win the game. I’m really proud of my win ratio at the clubs I’ve been at and I want that to continue. Whatever the game, whatever the season you want to go as far as you can. Sutton Coldfield are mid table but they’ve had some good results, the thing about the FA Trophy now is that everyone has got a chance with the games going straight to penalties if it’s a draw, but we’re at home, we’ve got a decent home record so we’ve got to go into the game confident that we can get through.”

Results in the NPL on Tuesday night saw Matlock drop from second to third with some late goals proving crucial. Had Matlock won against Nantwich, they would have gone top, but Stafford leapfrogged them after beating Liversedge on Saturday. On Tuesday Radcliffe were 2-1 winners over Stalybridge to go second themselves to join. Stafford and the Gladiators on 21 points. FC United came from behind to beat South Shields with goals on 88 and 90 minutes while Morpeth conceded a second half equaliser at home to Bamber Bridge to drop two points, Warrington Rylands had risen to second at one point in the night, but they squandered a two goal lead in the Warrington derby at Cantilever Park to draw 3-3, Town scoring in the 83rd and 90th minutes.

So Matlock will want to take advantage of slips by others whewn they return to league action at home to Liversedge on Tuesday.

“It’s an important game for us as they all are. We set ourselves little targets as the season goes on, we may have played more games but I prefer having the points in the bag, we’ve made a half decent start and we want that to continue.”

Al Byrne will complete his three match ban on Tuesday and will be raring to go when Matlock visit Warrington Rylands on Saturday week.

Ian Richardson