the npl

Weekly News - 17.1.23

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Weekly News - 17.1.23

It’s fair to say that Martin Carruthers hasn’t had everything his own way in his opening six weeks as Matlock Town’s manager.

Injuries to key players, equally important players leaving the Proctor Cars Stadium plus a couple of suspensions have set tough challenges for Carruthers and his assistant Wayne Hallcro, but after Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Stafford Rangers they remain on the cusp of the play-offs in sixth spot.

The cold snap geve the Gladiators some breathing space as Tuesday night’s scheduled home clash with leadewrs South Shields was postponed,

But it’s sixth versus seventh on Saturday as former Matlock boss Paul Phillips brings his Guiseley side into town, complete with his assistant Kayde Coppin, midfielders Callum Chippendale and Leigh Whelan, plus striker Kallan Murphy.

The news from the treatment room hasn’t got any better as goalkeeper Saul Deeney, defender and shipper Ryan Qualter plus striker Karl Demidh are all doubtful to face the Lions.

“Karl picked up an ankle injury and had to come off at Stafford, Qualts injured his back and groin in training ahead of the game and Saul’s got a knee injury so we’re not having much luck with injuries at the moment” Carrurhers lamented.

But he was delighted with the 2-0 win at Stafford as Demidh struck within ten seconds of the lick off, the official goal time being 9.13 seconds which is thought to be their quickest goal from the kick off in living memory. John Johnston doubled the lead on 7 minutes and after a great first half, the Gladiators had to dig in during the second half as Stafford piled on the pressure. The nearest Stafford came was from the penalty spot on 74 minutes but Deeney saved Tom Tonks’ spot kick to earn a clean sheet on his debut.

“We started really welk , something we’d spoken about in training after the good start against Belper and the indifferent starts we had at Gainsborough and at home to Morpeth. We talked about pressing teams from the off, and it certainly helped when their defender took a bad touch and Karl nipped in to score with a great shot. Then JJ scored a second, the wind certainly helped us. But Stafford were the better team in the second half, it was backs to the wall stuff for us but I thought we defended magnificently. Everyone was throwing their bodies in the way, Jamie Sharman, Adam Yates and Ioan Evans put a great shift in, it was old school defending.”

Qualter’s absence was an unexpected blow but Carruthers said it showed the quality of player the Gladiators have in the defensive positions.

“We lost Qualts, so to lose a player of his quality is a big blow It showed the quality we have in there, it was so pleasing not only to get the clean sheet, but it was the manner in which we got it, Behind them we had Saul Deeney, his experience, organisation, talking plus the way he came for crosses. He’d done his homework with the penalty save, it was a big save as goals can change games. Had Stafford scored then it might have been a different outcome. Everything had seemed to have gone against us in the build-up to the game, Eddie Church going back to Bradford didn’t help. But Stafford’s manager could see how hard the lads had worked for the win, he said to me afterwards, my word your lads did you proud today which is good to hear,”

Carruthers had special praise for 18 years old Welsh midfielder Tyrone Cadeau who was a debutant at Marston Road after a spell at Port Vale.

“I very much liked what I saw in training, his energy levels are unbelievable, he jumped at the opportunity he was given and I had no hesitation in throwing him in at Stafford where he was busy and creative. It was a very good debut.”

So Saturday’s game with Guiseley is a big game for both clubs, the Yorkshire side trailing Matlock by a solitary point having played one game more. Their 1-0 home win against South Shields last weekend was their third successive three point haul.

“It’ll be a tasty affair with former players and manager coming back to their old club. It’ll be fiercely competitive, we’ve watched them and know all about them. They’re a very good side so we need to be on top of our game to get the points. It’s a six pointer, no doubt about that, the main thing may be not to get beat but we’ll be going all out to win it.”

The 64,000 dollar question is can Matlock make the play-offs for a second successive season?

“It’s still very much wide open” Carruthers conceded. After the win last weekend we were hoping we could have beaten the league leaders and then Guiseley, nine out of nine points would have been a huge boost for us. One thing that has become abundantly clear to me though is that in this league, if you’re not at the races, you’ll get punished, so you need to be on your game in each and every match.”

Jim Pollard is expected to take Deeney’s place after serving his one match ban should the Northern Irishman not make it while Jack Deakin is favourite to come in for Demidh with Adam Yates, Jamie Sharman and Ioan Evans expected to continue as the defensive unit if Qualter remains on the sidelines. Jordan Barnett will serve the second of his three match ban.

Ian Richardson


Karl Demidh looks to have made the Matlock Town history book with his quickfire goal in last weekend’s 2-0 league victory at Stafford Rangers.

Having netted on his debut at home to Morpeth Town seven days earlier, the 31 years old striker wasted no time at all in scoring again, his goal being timed at just 9.13 seconds.

Gladiators club historian Mick Thorpe has been burning the midnight oil in his research of the quickest goals scored by Matlock at the start of the game and Demidh’s goal is deemed to be the fastest to date.

The next quickest is thought to be Gary Webster’s strike in an FA Cup Third Qualifying Round tie at home to Ossett Town in October 2005 when the Gladiators squandered a 3-1 half time lead to lose 6-3. Webster’s gaol came after 15 seconds.

The second quickest league goal came on 20 seconds and the prolific Steve Taylor was the scorer on both occasions, away at Lincoln United in September 2003 and away at North Ferriby United in October 2001, the Gladiators emerging as 4-2 victors in both matches.,

Thorpe’s records stretch back to the 1992/93 season and since then he believes there have been twelve other occasions when Matlock have struck inside the opening sixty seconds. Danny Holland and Simon Barraclough have both done it twice while the other goalscorers are Scot Whitehead, Nathan Joynes, James Lukic, Joel Purkiss, Will Davies, Kenny Clark. And Lee Handbury.

Ian Richardson