the npl

Weekly News - 17/7/19

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Weekly News - 17/7/19

Matlock boss Steve Kittrick is pleased with his new team’s pre-season efforts so far which have brought a 1-1 draw at home to Burton Albion last Saturday before an unlucky 2-1 defeat to Chesterfield at a packed Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night.

Marcus Marshall netted to give Matlock a 24th minute lead against a strong Brewers line up, Nigel Clough’s side equalising eight minutes after the restart through Liam Boyce.

Pietu Crouz shot Matlock ahead in only three minutes in midweek but in a hugely entertaining contest, Anthony Spyrou and Jake Bennett had the Spireites ahead by the interval and although Matlock twice struck the woodwork, John Sheridan’s team headed back on the A632 with the win.

“It’s been good so far” said Kittrick. “We’ve got a lot out of those two games, they’ve been different but positive challenges. There’s been some good legs and some tired legs, lads have got miles in the tank which they needed, We’ve had some trialists in, some have shone some have done okay.”

But above all Kittrick is enthused by the players enjoying playing football.

“It’s been exciting to watch and the players have enjoyed it as they’ve played with smiles on their faces. If they’re enjoying it they’ll play better.”

After playing full-time sides in Burton and Chesterfield, it’s the other side of the coin for the Gladiators on Saturday when they travel to Frickley Athletic for their third pre-season fixture. Frickley plays a division below Matlock in the Bet Victor South East Division and Kittrick believes it is a game that his side needs.

“Frickley will be a different test altogether. They’re strong and organised and will view us as a scalp. They’ll have as good a side as we’ve got and these teams are stronger, they leave their foot in. I’ll learn a lot about people on Saturday, I’ll see how they react against a tough, organised side. I’m looking forward now to training on Thursday and the next game at Frickley ”.

Kittrick could add two further names to his squad in the coming days after a plethora of new signings a week ago.

He first brought in defender James Williamson from Scarborough Athletic, defender or midfielder Louis Wardle from Barnsley and former Buxton winger Niall Doran from Mickleover Sports and resigned midfielder Nathan Whitehead and striker Ben Edgson. Then last weekend midfielder Spencer Harris and forward Ben Morris joined up.

“We’re getting there but need to strengthen in one or two areas” added Kittrick who was without goalkeeper Ross Durrant and Adam Yates in the opening two games through injury.

The two home friendlies have seen in excess of 2000 people flock through the turnstiles at the Proctor Cars Stadium. 538 saw the Burton draw while a tremendous 1,474 witnessed Chesterfield’s narrow win.

“They’ve been magnificent gates and we at Matlock Town thank everyone for their great support, “ said Chairman Tom Wright. “We thank also Burton and Chesterfield for their valued help in staging the games. They’ve been two cracking matches and it would be nice to think we’ve made some new fans now.”

Matlock’s remaining home friendly is against Sheffield United on Tuesday 30 July and after this weekend they have trips to Worksop Town on Saturday 27 July,, Loughborough Dynamo seven days later and Lincoln United on Saturday 10 August.

Ian Richardson