the npl

Weekly News - 11/3/20

Posted on
Weekly News - 11/3/20

Two more league defeats this week has heaped the pressure on Matlock who in third bottom spot, now more desperately than before need to begin collecting points urgently to avoid a tense and worrying end to the season.

A 3-1 loss at Hyde last weekend had assistant boss Dave Wild apologising personally to fans who made the trip and then on social media after a lack lustre second half display. Clearly a response was needed and it came, albeit with another loss, but this time with tons more pride at Warrington in midweek where the Gladiators led 2-0 with fifteen minutes left only to collapse at the end.

Matlock can at least take a huge set of positives from their performance at Cantilever Park where they were excellent for seventy five minutes and in control through goals from Jude Obiyo and debutant Dan Turner.

“It’s unbelievable” exclaimed Phillips afterwards.

“We’d worked so hard for seventy five minutes, we’d controlled the game and we’d been the better team. We’d told everyone as a unit if we drop back into our own box they (Warrington) will cause you problems, that’s what happened, each of the three goals were alike. The lads had given me everything, we had to bring in two young full backs (Joe Dunne and Sikirulahi Hamzat) who were only introduced to everyone an hour before the game, to do what they did was tremendous. In fact the whole back four was tremendous until the last fifteen minutes, it was as if the confidence drained out of them when Warrington got their first goal.”

Phillips must be feeling he’s killed a robin as bad luck seems to have followed him since arriving at Matlock in January. The death of Jordan Sinnott in his first few days in charge was followed by goalkeeper Jon Stewart severely injuring himself at work. A glut of injuries plus five of his squad heading for Warrington being involved in a road accident must leave him, his staff and everyone connected with the Gladiators wondering when their fortunes will improve.

Ben Gordon, Bailey Gooda and Nathan Valentine were all ruled out at Warrington through injury, Matlock’s resources being further stretched with Spencer Harris beginning a three match ban in midweek and Luke Dean sitting out this Saturday’s home clash with Nantwich after being sent off for denying a goalscoring chance at Hyde.

“Having the likes of Jon, Spencer and Bailey out will hurt you, although it didn’t at first, the important thing now is that we learn from the mistakes made. We’ve come to a play off chasing team and been the better side, after having nothing but bad luck in the build up. I’m not making any excuses for we were 2-0 up away from home and I expect the experienced lads in the side to stand up and be counted. We have a good team but our mentality is an issue. We need to be more streetwise and ruthless at both ends. Their three substitutes gave them fresh impetus. We had some good performances out there, Jude(Oyibo) showed us the lad we really know and like Marcus Marshall was outstanding, Chib held the ball up well and Dan Turner comes on, makes a goal and scores one. I was angry with the Hyde performance, the last fifteen minutes made me angry tonight but tonight we created chances and looked a more solid unit until they scored. We’ve got to be big, bold and brave, we surrendered at the end.”

Dunne(18) joins Matlock on work experience from Rochdale, while nineteen years old Hamzat has signed on a dual registration agreement with Cheadle Town in the North West Counties League Division One South. Matlock had earlier signed 22 years old Turner from Hyde United, who came on as a late substitute against them last Saturday, and has scored eight goals for the Tigers this season following his release by Port Vale. Another new recruit is Chesterfield midfielder Charlie Wakefield who may have made his first start for Matlock at Warrington but for being involved in the road accident en route.

Matlock must now repeat the first seventy five minutes at Warrington in their two home games this coming week. On Tuesday night Ashton United follow Nantwich to the Proctor Cars Stadium.

“Every game’s a big game now” said Phillips. “I’m very confident we have enough in that dressing room to stay up . It may appear that I’m criticising the lads but they need to take what I’m saying on board. Hopefully we’ll have one or two of them back for Saturday, but Luke Hinsley looks like being out as that same ankle problem’s flared up again.”

Skipper Adam Yates is set to make his 500th Matlock appearance in the Ashton game. He has now been at Matlock for eleven years, joining them after impressing for Shirebrook Town in a Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final defeat by Matlock in 2009. He made his debut as a late substitute at home to FC United of Manchester in March 2009.

Matlock Town Chairman Tom Wright expressed his relief after hearing that five Gladiators players en route to Tuesday’s game at Warrington were unscathed after the vehicle in which they were travelling was involved in a road accident.

Loan signing Charlie Wakefield from Chesterfield was understood to be driving with strikers Chib Chilaka, Marcus Marshall and Ben Edgson plus defender Dwayne Wiley were passengers.

While extensive damage was caused to the vehicle, Matlock’s players escaped unharmed .

Mr Wright, currently away in Spain, said the final score from Cantilever Park, which ended 3-2 to the hosts after the Gladiators had been 2-0 up, “put the tin hat” on the night.

“Firstly we’re all very relieved that nobody was seriously injured and that the players were all okay. They all did very well to make it for kick off given the circumstances and it’s not the best of preparation to play in a game at NPL level. The result put the tin hat on it, the performance I’m told in the main was excellent, so I’m gutted for all the players, the management team and all who went. Nothing seems to be going our way at the moment but we’d like to see a good crowd down for the Nantwich game on Saturday to get behind Paul and the players, hoping our luck will take a change for the better very soon.”

Ian Richardson