the npl

Weekly News - 16/10/19

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Weekly News - 16/10/19

The highs and lows of football could not have been more obvious for Matlock boss Steve Kittrick in the space of four days in the past week.

On Saturday he watched on approvingly as his side brushed aside second in the table Mickleover Sports on Non League Day, the Derbyshire derby attracting a season’s best gate of 729.

But it was frustration all the way on Tuesday as the Gladiators surrendered an interval lead against Warrington Town who scored twice in two minutes to lead by the 52nd minute. With Kittrick having made his plans to try and gain at least a point, the “wrong” player was taken off following a breakdown in communication on the Matlock bench.

So Warrington inflicted a third home defeat of the season on Kittrick’s men and leapfrogged them in the table.

“It was our best home performance on Saturday, we scored three excellent goals, played some great football and might have won by more” said Kittrick.

Warrington, it must be said are a more accomplished all round side than Mickleover and will be there or thereabouts when the play off positions are decided at the end of the season.

Kittrick, though, could not hide his disappointment and frustration by the manner of the defeat.

“We deserved to be in front at half time for we competed very well, but I don’t know what’s wrong with us. The first ten minutes again, Warrington have done exactly what Nantwich did two or three weeks ago. We had a silly ten minutes, everybody’s telling me it wasn’t a penalty but we should have dealt with the ball better further up the pitch. Then it was just a nothing game.”

The Town boss admitted to” chucking his teddy out of the pram” as a different substitution to the one he had ordered was made by Matlock.

“I asked for a certain player to come off and the wrong player’s been fetched off. It frustrates me. The player that was coming off was Dan (Bramall), I don’t think Dan had played particularly well. The next thing I saw was Sam Scrivens sat next to me and I’m asking why? Has someone put the wrong number up? I find it extremely frustrating as I thought Sam had done well and I’ve got to apologise to the fans that my staff got it wrong.”

Returning to Matlock’s poor start to the second half, Kittrick says it was down to a lack of concentration.

“You’ve got to stay organised, solid, because in the first ten minutes they’re going to change their game, they’re always going to come at you. We’ve got to get the right mentality, certain players have to be more alert or aware with defensive situations.

It’s poor but that substitution thing has clouded all I wanted to do tonight and with those ten minutes also I’m really frustrated.”

Matlock now head to Radcliffe on Saturday.

“On paper it’s a game we’re probably expected to win but we can’t go there with that mentality for as we’ve seen this is a very tight league where everyone’s capable of beating anyone else.”

Matlock will be without the suspended Piteu Crouz whose three match ban following his dismissal against Scarborough began on Tuesday. Leading scorer Marcus Marshall is also banned but just for the Radcliffe trip having collected five bookings.

Kittrick may therefore add to his squad before the weekend, particularly as attacker Scott Smith has gone back to Guiseley following a second month on loan at Matlock and doubts remain over Jack Rea being fit after a groin injury.

Matlock will visit BetVictor NPL South East Division leaders Carlton Town in the FA Trophy First Qualifying Round on Saturday week. It could be a tricky tie for the Gladiators who were beaten by Kidsgrove Athletic from the same division in the FA Cup last month. Carlton have former Matlock strikers Tyler Blake and Darryl Thomas in their ranks.

“Carlton are top and are playing well so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for it” said Kittrick.

“I keep on about those ten minutes though which cost us. We’ve got enough in this team to get over it and we will in time. Compared to some of the teams we’ve played recently, Warrington, Nantwich for two, this is a new side, the Warrington’s and Nantwich’s , the South Shields have had the basis of their squads together now for a couple of years or so. It’s a learning curve and our young player have got to have that steel required to succeed at this level. We’re a good side ourselves when we’re on it but people have to learn to be stronger, especially in those first ten minutes of the second half. Concentrate hard then, do the right things and we win 1-0 against Warrington and we wouldn’t be here discussing what we have been doing. We’ve got to continue picking up as many points as we can, we’re in the leading bunch and the aim is to be still there come the end of April.”


Non League Day was a shining success at Matlock Town last Saturday, especially if you are a Gladiators follower.

On the field the players excelled, thoroughly deserving their 3-1 derby day win against Mickleover Sports, who arrived at the Proctor Cars Stadium in second spot. Dan Bramall slid Matlock ahead in four minutes as the hosts dominated the opening exchanges. Although veteran striker Lee Hughes threatened to put a spanner in the works with a 33rd minute equaliser, Matlock responded with gusto as Luke Hinsley restored their lead a minute before half time. Sam Scrivens first goal for Town confirmed victory seven minutes into the second half and Matlock were unlucky not to add to their tally.

It restored the Gladiators into the play-off positions, done so in front of an impressive 729 gate with only a few Mickleover fans but a lot of locals and first time visitors at the match.

Matlock marked Non League Day, a day set aside during an international break each season to celebrate all that is good about non league football, by handing out tickets for the game to local schools, while at half time a penalty shoot out took place on the pitch involving local youngsters.

Ashover Juniors, Bakewell Town Juniors, Matlock Town Juniors and Tansley Juniors all accepted an invitation to take part, children testing their shooting skills against Matlock’s goalkeeping coach Steve Shuttleworth. The shoot out winner was Josh Thompson, representing Bakewell Town Juniors.

“ It was a great day when the team performed, the sun shone and we had a fantastic crowd in to watch. We hope everyone who came enjoyed their day and will want to come again sometime soon. Saturday was what non league football is all about and we were delighted to celebrate it. Thanks go to everyone who made it such a roaring success, to the parents and managers of the children who took part in the penalty competition, to Steve Shuttleworth, to Steven Greenhough who donated the trophy to the winner and to our junior players who were mascots for the day” said a Matlock spokesman.

Ian Richardson