the npl

Weekly News | 5.7.23

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Weekly News | 5.7.23

A shell shocked Martin Carruthers and his Matlock Town side will have to quickly put aside the 9-0 hammering inflicted by Chesterfield in their opening pre season friendly on Tuesday for they face a potentially more difficult assignment on Saturday when Derby County send their first team squad to the Proctor Cars Stadium.

The defeat was Matlock’s biggest in living memory, eclipsing an 8-0 thrashing handed out by Chorley on the opening day of the 1971/72 season.

At least Tuesday’s result was not in a competitive fixture, but nevertheless it was an outcome Matlock or any side could well do without as Paul Cook’s Spireites had no problem in retaining the Ernie Moss Challenge Cup.

As Carruthers acknowledged, Matlock played well for the opening half hour, more than holding their own before Liam Mandeville s brace saw Chesterfield lead 2-0 at half time. But the Carruthers made multiple changes and a slick and clinical Chesterfield, who introduced star signing Will Grigg at half time, ran riot, cutting the Gladiators open at will.

“In opening pre season games I’ve always played two different teams. I think it’s unrealistic to expect lads to perform at their very best so early, some have had only one training session” explained Carruthers.

“It turned out to be our worst nightmare, Chesterfield are a very good side and in the second half we couldn’t compete. I have to look at players in match situations. We’d already got Karl Demidh and Nat Crofts out with hamstring injuries, we can’t afford any more so I had to protect some players. It’s critical we get everyone fit and keep them fit.”

Carruthers says he doesn’t think the magnitude of the defeat will have any lasting effects.

“Nobody likes to lose like that but we have to put it into context. I’ve told the lads not to worry too much about it as pre season,I its early part is all about match fitness and cohesion. If we’d played with the team we started with for the whole 90 minutes it’d have only been a two or three goal difference. But there’s still a lot of work to do although nothing’s ever won in pre season The main thing is to peak for August 12. We’ve had some fantastic pre season fixtures as a club but it’s difficult to take on the likes of Chesterfield and Derby without playing any football. That said I thought we were fantastic in the first half hour and for the first half actually. We created two or three great opportunities, John Johnston was excellent. But in the second half our inexperienced lads playing in front of just short of two and a half thousand people, they were like rabbits in headlights, we were pulled apart and pulled to pieces, they got found out.”

Carruthers is hopeful that Demidh and Crofts will be available to face Derby.

“Hopefully they’ll be fit for Saturday but we won’t take any risks. Nobody else picked up an injury against Chesterfield, that’s the only positive we can take from that game.”

The Chesterfield game ended up being a sell out with all of the tickets gone by last Monday. The Derby visit is also all ticket and these were snapped up within four days of them being released for sale.

Buxton visit the Proctor Cars Stadium on Wednesday night as Matlock try to release the Markowicz Cup from their grasp. The Bucks won 1-0 at the Silverlands last summer.

Ian Richardson