the npl

Weekly News - 11/11/20

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Weekly News - 11/11/20

The odds have looked to be firmly against Matlock boss Paul Phillips in his nine months in charge of the Gladiators, but especially this season there has been a resilience and a determination to overcome setbacks which has seen Matlock make an encouraging start to the season.

The Government’s ruling of preventing non elite non league clubs from playing until at least December 2 is another blow, and although everyone at Matlock’s level is in the same boat, Matlock had just had a break through Covid 19 in their camp and had battled through an exciting FA Trophy clash at Southern League Central Premier leaders Coalville Town, a depleted squad recovering from a two-nil interval deficit to lead 3-2, only to be pegged back before progressing following a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory.

Having received four away draws in the FA Cup this term, and then another trip in their opening FA Trophy round, Matlock could have at least be forgiven for hoping for a home tie at last in the next round, but they were drawn out second again and will now go to Coleshill Town, a level below them in the non league pyramid, Coleshill having won at Bromsgrove Sporting in the previous round.

“We’ve had a lot of bad luck in the last few months but the players have been brilliant” said Phillips.

“I think the sky’s the limit for this group and everyone who saw us at Coalville last week will probably agree. They rolled their sleeves up after being unlucky to go two down and fought back magnificently. Coalville was a really hard game against a team at the top of their league and against a big strong physical team. I think it really showed the spirit we have in our ranks.”

A problem for all clubs at Matlock’s level is that they don’t know when they will be called into action again

“Training’s not easy, we’ve had a Zoom session tonight(Tuesday) which has gone really well. But as I’ve said before, we’ve got a great set of lads who’ll do what they need to during this break, they’ve looked after themselves and there’s a determination throughout the group to do well for this football club.”

Phillips admitted that he doesn’t know too much about Coleshill.

“We usually try and do our homework and if we get the chance to look at them before the tie’s played, whenever that’ll be, we’ll do so. It is what it is, we’ll probably be expected to win but as we saw with Oxford City and Marine in the FA Cup, the underdog can win so we’ll need to prepare the best way we can. Six successive away draws is certainly bad luck, it’s inconvenient especially as we might have to go to Coleshill in midweek, but we can’t really moan, we’re still in the competition after being two down in the previous round.”

Matlock currently sit in eighth position in the Pitchng In NPL Premier Division six points behind leaders Mickleover with three games in hand.

A change in luck, with a clear run on the injury front, would be just what the doctor ordered if and when their games resume in December.

Ian Richardson