the npl

Weekly News - 15/7/21

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Weekly News - 15/7/21

Pre season is going well for Matlock Town, Tuesday night’s 2-1 win against Derby County under 23’s making it three victories out of three following the 9-0 win against Wirksworth Ivanhoe and the competitive clash with Boston United last Friday which the Gladiators won 3-2.

All three games have presented different challenges. Against Wirksworth, the Gladiators expected to create a host of chances and they found the net regularly during the ninety minutes against plucky opponents.

Boston presented Matlock with a physical test against a good side who are expected to do well in the National League North this season. Matlock were twice behind but a first half Sam Egerton header plus a second half brace from Ross Hannah earner Matlock an excellent victory.

Derby lacked Boston’s physicality but played some excellent football so Matlock had to deal with the visitors neat interchanges and after falling behind again, an Alex Byrne double saw Matlock home.

Matlock boss Paul Phillips praised his team’s character in the Boston and Derby matches.

“Derby are a fantastic football team who stood up to us physically, I thought we played it too safe early on but when we switched to two up front in the second half we were a different force and could have scored more goals. Ross Hannah came on and was absolutely outstanding.” Boston presented us with a big physical robust test but we had the character to fight back. To be honest we gave away poor goals in both games but we reacted. Against Boston Ross has scored two brilliant goals and in the Derby match Alex Byrne’s hit a fantastic free kick and Liam Hughes has done really well to set Al up for the winner”.

So attention now turns to Friday’s visit from Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town and then the eagerly awaited Chesterfield game on Wednesday night.

The Stags are sending their first team squad to the Proctor Cars Stadium and Phillips is expecting a tough but good game.

“Mansfield will be a different test again, they’re bringing their first team which is fantastic for us. Nigel Clough’s a great manager, his sides always play good football and I can’t praise him enough the great job he did at Burton Albion. So

it’ll be a massive test for us, as will the Chesterfield fixture. We’ll get the Mansfield game out of the way first.”

Phillips is happy to play more difficult games as he prepares his squad to have a real go in the NPL Premier Division this term.

“It’s no good having too many games which end up 7-0 or 8-0, I need to see what people do when we’re up against it so we’re set for anything and everything we could come up against when the season starts. We’ve carefully chosen our opponents in pre season which represents a good mix of differing challenges for us. The big plus for me though is getting good crowds in for the matches we’ve played so far, our fans have been terrific and I’d like to say a big thank you to them for their support.”

Both the Mansfield and Chesterfield games are pay on the gate and both are expected to attract a bumper crowd to the Proctor Cars Stadium. The message from Matlock Town officials is get there early for what should be two excellent entertaining matches.

The Gladiators have a change to their pre season schedule. They will no longer be travelling to Brighouse Town on Saturday 24 July. Instead Matlock have arranged a trip to Newcastle Town with the match having a 1 pm kick off.


Osebi Abadaki will not be with Matlock Town for a second season after letting down manager Paul Phillips last weekend.

Phillips received a message from Abadaki saying he was unavailable for Friday night’s home clash with Boston United through illness, only for him to appear on Buxton’s substitutes bench eighteen hours later in their win at Nuneaton Borough.

An upset Phillips confirmed that Abadaki would not be part of the Gladiators squad in 2021/22.

“We’d looked after the lad last season and we were considering what we were going to do this season but his actions have made up our minds for us. Basically, he wasn’t man enough to tell me he was having a game elsewhere. Craig King and Nathan Whitehead (now at Frickley) did things the right way. If things are done properly, that’s no problem for me but the manner in which Osebi acted is totally against what we believe in. He’s not the sort of character we want in our squad.”

Ian Richardson