the npl

Weekly News | 8.2.23

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Weekly News | 8.2.23

Martin Carruthers was full of his praise for his players following two important 1-0 wins over the last week which has kept them well in contention in the NPL Premier Division play-off picture.

A John Johnston goal saw off FC United of Manchester last Saturday while substitute Jorome Slew’s third goal of the season was sufficient for the Gladiators to return home from Nantwich with all three points on Tuesday night.

Matlock currently lie in seventh spot, two points behind Radcliffe who currently occupy fifth position and the final play off slot, but Matlock have a game in hand.

“It’s been a fantastic week, just what we hoped for” exclaimed a delighted Carruthers.

“We set out our goals beforehand of getting the two wins and massive credit must go to all of the players, particularly the defensive players with the two clean sheets. Saul Deeney’s made some great saves but overall we’ve showed great determination, we’ve dug in and git two great results so I couldn’t be more proud of the players.”

Perhaps the one fly in the ointment is that Carruthers has thus far not been able to add to the signings he made late last week.

He brought in midfielder Ethan Cartwright from Guiseley and right full back or wing back Robbie McNicholas from Loughborough Dynamo. McNicholas has been forced to slot in at left back but they have both have impressed in the two wins as Carruthers pointed out.

“I think we’ve seen already that both are prepared to put their bodies on the line, they both work tremendously hard and give one hundred per cent so they’ve made a great impact. Ideally we were wanting to bring more lads in and we’re still desperately keen to do so, we’re working tremendously hard but it’s been very frustrating. We’ve had lads lined up but due to injuries at certain clubs, they’ve not been allowed to leave.”

Carruthers could only name three outfield substitutes at Nantwich and lost midfielder Tyrone Cadeau and striker Jack Deakin due to injury during the game. With Karl Demidh also missing with an ankle injury, Matlock’s resources look stretched to the limit, hence the significance of adding to the squad,

Two players in particular took their chance with both hands on Tuesday. Jaz Goundry, on loan from Grimsby Town came in for Adam Yates and turned in a man of the match performance, while Jorome Slew was relegated to the bench but replaced Deakin to make his mark with a cracking winning goal.

“Jaz is a fantastic young player and has been terribly unlucky not to have been in the side. Jorome got left out of the starting line up on Tuesday but came on and won us the game with an unbelievable strike, we took him out of the firing line as we changed shape but he came on with real fire in his belly showing really good energy and looked determined to make a statement and say why have you left me out which is what I want to see.”

The Gladiators now face a tough trio of matches with third in the table Warrington Town, unbeaten in their last eleven matches, visiting the Proctor Cars Stadium on

Saturday before Guiseley, managed by former Matlock boss Paul Phillips and currently lying in eleventh but just four points behind the Gladiators are in town on Tuesday night. Then Carruthers’ troops travel to clear leaders and title favourites South Shields on Saturday week.

“There’s a lot of games to be played, I brought Jaz in for Adam Yates as I think it’s important we manage peoples’ game time. The games we’ve got coming are huge, we need everybody to be fresh and raring to go, we’ve got a massive five or six weeks now and that’s why we’re wanting to boost the squad both in quality and quantity. Looking at the next three games we’d probably take six out of the nine points right now, but obviously we’ll be looking to get all nine. Starting with Warrington, I think it’s really important we don’t lose the game, Warrington are always a really good side with quality players all over the pitch. Guiseley will also be a really tough game as we said a week or two ago with the manager and one or two players coming back to their old club. South Shields are starting to pull away and will no doubt finish as champions so we need everyone fit and raring to go. Things aren’t going for us injury wise and we’re working really hard to boost the squad. All you can do is go with what you’ve got and hope things go well for you.”

Ian Richardson