the npl

Weekly News | 6.9.23

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Weekly News | 6.9.23

Matlock Town boss Martin Carruthers could not hide his delight after the Gladiators eventually saw off league rivals Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday night to end an FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round mini hoodoo.

The sides had played out a 1-1 draw in Lincolnshire on Saturday to set up the replay which turned out to be a thriller with the Gladiators slamming in five goals to two in reply from Trinity. Karl Demidh struck the equaliser in the first game before former Trinity striker Jonny Margetts took centre stage in the replay with a hat-trick, his second in eight days taking his season’s tally to eight. Demidh scored again and there was a wonder strike from substitute Harry Wakefield late on to seal the win which did not look nailed on for a spell in the first half. Trinity replied to falling behind by striking twice in a minute to go in front and leave home fans wondering if the FA Cup would provide them with more misery.

In the end they need not have worried.

“I’m absolutely delighted” said Carruthers.

“It was a brilliant FA Cup tie. We asked the lads to find a way to win the game. We rode our luck on Saturday but we said to the lads, we’ve got a second chance, don’t let the fans down!”

Carruthers admits he was a little worried at 1-2 down but he praised the spirit of his threadbare squad. He has only been able to name four substitutes in the last three games including goalkeeper Myles Wright.

“I thought the lads showed great character to get back in the game, be ahead at half time and then go on to dominate the second half. I was shell shocked at 2-1 down, I hadn’t finished writing my notes for what we did wrong for the equaliser and when I looked up it was 2-1 to Gainsborough. We’d been in control after our goal, we now had to refocus.”

Margetts will grab the headlines with his hat-trick.

“That’s another match ball for him, we’ll be running out before long! But that’s what we’ve got him here to do. Early in the season we were starving him of service but we’re creating opportunities for him now and he’s really starting to hit the target”

Carruthers was also quick to point out that Demidh and Wakefield had also scored quality goals.

“Harry does that in training all the time so it was great for him to get a goal like that in an FA Cup tie. Don’t forget also Karl’s quality free kick to make it 2-2, it was a wicked strike!”

It’s another away tie for the Gladiators in the 2nd Qualifying Round as they go to the West Midlands to face former NPL outfit Stourbridge who sit in second spot in the Southern League Premier Central behind leaders Mickleover.

But before that they will be keen to get more league points on the board as they host Marske United on Saturday. The Seasiders have had a troubled start to the campaign and are currently in the bottom four but they will be buoyed by their 3-0 FA Cup win at Ossett United last weekend. They have the prolific scorer Adam Boyes in their attack and he is likely to be partnered with Eddie Church who had a successful loan spell at Matlock last season when he netted three times.

“We’ve said it many times, there’s no easy games in this league but that win against Gainsborough should give us great confidence now. The aim is to continue our very good home form by getting a much needed three points.”

They may have to do it without defender Jamie Sharman who came off towards the end of the FA Cup win with a tight hamstring. Midfielder Andrew Wright picked up a knee injury on Saturday and could only play out the final few minutes in midweek. Archie White and Alex Duhameau remain on the sidelines but Sam Hooper and Nathan Crofts could be back in contention to face Marske. They will be assessed at Thursday’s training session. With Reece Styche away on international duty Matlock have been stretched to the limit player wise in recent games with full back Robbie McNicholas not being available until Saturday week due to protocol after a head injury. .

All this led to the signing of midfielder Josh Barnes in time for the cup tie.

“It was difficult for him on Saturday because he didn’t really know how we played and to be honest we were generally poor. But he did much better on Tuesday despite him starting on the left flank then going central midfield and even right back at the end” said Carruthers.”

Barnes is on a three months loan from Basford United, joining them last summer after being at Nottingham Forest since the age of eight.