the npl

Weekly News - 19/2/20

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Weekly News - 19/2/20

Paul Phillips could scarcely have expected his first defeat as Matlock’s manager to be at the hands of Midland League Premier Division South Normanton Athletic but that’s what happened as the Shiners pulled off a big shock with a 2-1 victory in Tuesday night’s Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

It will therefore be South Normanton, and not Matlock that will contest the final at Pride Park against either Belper Town or New Mills on Wednesday 25 March.

Phillips apologised to the fans and labelled the result “embarrassing” after the game.

“It’s not just disappointing, the players have let themselves, the club and the fans down. They get to this stage by beating a good side like Alfreton, then turn in a performance like that in a semi final with the chance of playing at Derby County’s Pride Park. As a unit we find that unacceptable and I apologise to the fans on behalf of us all for that. It was embarrassing, they (South Normanton) have had three shots on target all night, one of them’s a goalkeeping error, the other we’ve switched off at the back, but all in all we’ve had 70 perhaps 75 per cent of the play, had numerous chances to hit the target. But we’ve not done that, they’ve defended well and credit and congratulations to them, you could see what it meant to them.”

For all of Matlock’s possession Shiners’ custodian Curtis Hall had a relatively comfortable evening.

“How many times did we test their keeper, that’s something that’s been evident since I came here. We had all of the play against Hyde and although we scored four against Radcliffe, we should have got possibly six or seven. I said when I came here we’ll lose football matches, that’s part and parcel of football, but we won’t lose football matches by hunger, determination and workrate. For me, for large parts of the game we didn’t work hard enough.”

Phillips admitted that he has learned more about his squad in Tuesday’s defeat and in the below par second half display in the win over Worksop last week, and squad changes look to be on the horizon.

“You find out about who you’ve got in your squad and who you want in the trenches, and against South Normanton one or two of the questions have been answered by the players. I’ve learned a lot about the group and we need to put it right. Our goalscoring record is a massive concern, we’ve had a load of chances and not taken them and our delivery into the box has been poor at times. It needs addressing for if you don’t score goals then you don’t win games. No disrespect to South Normanton but we should be winning games like this.”

Matlock are back at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday with a league visit by

in form Whitby Town who will be seeking a fourth consecutive league win. The Gladiators will recall that they played their best football of the season in the league when they won 3-0 in North Yorkshire at the end of September.

With goalkeeper Jon Stewart again expected to miss the game and with Spencer Harris out due to having an operation on his broken nose on the day before the game, plus Brian Wilson (calf) and Nathan Valentine (hamstring) likely non starters, there appears to be an increased need for reinforcements. Skipper Adam Yates though hopes to return after tonsillitis.

Matlock’s home clash with Witton Albion last weekend was one of seven which fell foul of the weather in the Premier Division. Results though went Matlock’s way with Stafford Rangers, Grantham Town, Bamber Bridge and Gainsborough Trinity all losing while on Tuesday Grantham squandered a 3-1 lead at Warrington to draw 3-3 and Stafford lost again at FC United of Manchester.

“We now need to look at the bigger picture, we need league wins and our position indicates we’ve not been good enough. We’ve got games in hand but we need points. The lads have all had their chance to show what they can do in the four games we’ve had. I’m looking at getting one or two lads in and one or two out, we need to shake it up. I think we need that bit more physicality. I know what to expect from Whitby, they’re on a good run and they’ll try to dominate and impose themselves on us, particularly on our pitch which I expect to be heavy after the last game and with the weather we’re having at present.”

Matlock will visit Mickleover Sports on Tuesday night.

Ian Richardson