the npl

Weekly News - 13.2.24

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Weekly News - 13.2.24

​Matlock boss Martin Carruthers was proud of his players’ efforts despite losing 4-1 at Buxton in Tuesday’s Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final.

​The 4-1 scoreline at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium against the National League North outfit was harsh on the Gladiators who had to field a depleted side to start with and then lost both of their recognised central defenders in Ioan Evans and Adam Yates within the opening 19 minutes.

Evans went off with a bad head injury after a stray elbow from Jake Wright in the ninth minute, Yates then being dismissed for alleged hand ball on the line.

Matlock led from the 15th until the 65th minute courtesy of substitute Alex Duhameau’s goal before tiredness crept in as the Bucks scored three times in six minutes before adding a fourth late on.

Given all of these problems which had been exacerbated with Scott Boden, Michael Williams and Callum Moore all being cup tied and Nathan Whitehead out injured, it was a commendable effort from the Matlock players, a point not lost on Carruthers.

“I’m extremely proud of the lads, proud as punch,” he said.

“We’d got three players cup tied, injuries and illness, it was like putting square pegs in round holes. But to a man, the lads were superb, then losing Evo (Ioan Evans) didn’t help as we had to shuffle the pack.

"We went 1-0 up and then committed suicide with Joe West’s back pass for the penalty. The referee says it was hand ball but it hit Yatesy on the thigh. He gets sent off and they miss the penalty but it was always going to be a really tough ask after that.”

Yates himself was adamant it was not a penalty.

“It hit me on the thigh, I can’t believe the decision and to get sent off as well really rubs salt into the wound,” said Yates, sporting a look of disbelief .

“It ruined the game and cost us any chance of going through against a side of Buxton’s capability.”

Carruthers was pleased that Matlock looked relatively comfortable until half-time but he knew it would need a colossal effort in the second half to make the final.

“We kept our shape, we looked organised, we did superbly well. At half time we said we needed a mammoth effort. Buxton upped the tempo and once they got one goal we were dead on our feet. But I can’t fault any one of them. Buxton are a good side and they took full advantage of the situation.”

Last Saturday saw Matlock lose to a solitary late goal for the second successive Saturday at Warrington Rylands who rose to second in the table as a result. Carruthers admits his side were second best on the day.

He said: "Lancaster the week before and Rylands on Saturday were like chalk and cheese. We were dominant at Lancaster and should have come home with a point at the very least. Rylands were definitely the better side, we huffed and puffed without creating very much and conceded a poor goal. Poor game management and a lapse of concentration cost us goals in both games when we should have been earning deserved clean sheets.”

Matlock will therefore now go into two successive home games desperate to halt the losing run of three in league and cup. Promotion-chasing Worksop Town are the visitors on Saturday while Gainsborough Trinity are in town on Tuesday evening for a game which has suffered two postponements within the last month.

Carruthers said: “These are two huge games and we’ve got to turn the feelings of the harsh way we’ve been treated in recent games to make them work for us. We need to put on a performance in both games to show people we’re still a good side. We’ll train lightly on Thursday for we were forced to work extremely hard at Buxton after two tough away matches and we’ll also need to look at who’s fit to play.”

Nathan Whitehead is unlikely to feature against Worksop after coming off at Warrington while Fin Armond and Ioan Evans are doubts.

Armond has a dead calf while Evans was floored by a stray arm from Buxton striker Jake Wright and after being taken off he later emerged from the dressing room with a black and swollen eye. But concussion could be the big issue and if they are without Evans, it will prove to be a big blow for the Gladiators.

Adam Yates can play, however, with any suspension being competition based making him eligible for NPL matches. Matlock should also welcome back the cup tied Scott Boden, Michael Williams and Callum Moore.

Meanwhile Carruthers paid tribute to Jay Beaumont who is relinquishing his role as Chairman at the end of the season.

He said: “Jay’s always been my main point of contact and has been brilliant to work with so to hear of him standing down is disappointing.

"But we have to respect the reasons behind his decision and it’s great to hear that he’s still going to be involved in the running of the club. Jay’s a man who likes to give 100 per cent total commitment, something he’s done to a tee ever since I came to the club.”