the npl

Weekly News - 2/10/19

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Weekly News - 2/10/19

Steve Kittrick took the positives from two tough away games for his side which brought a fantastic 3-0 win at Whitby Town last Saturday and a 3-1 defeat by Nantwich Town on Tuesday.

The Gladiators jumped from fifth to third after Dan Bramall, Luke Hinsley and Marcus Marshall scored on the North Yorkshire coast, a position they kept despite losing at the Weaver Stadium.

Jordan Sinnott’s header had given Matlock a half time advantage and hopes were high of a repeat of the Whitby result, and second place in the table, but Matlock lost their way in the opening ten minutes of the second period when Nantwich levelled before hitting two more to take the points. Matlock have nineteen points from their opening ten matches.

“The rule of thumb generally is that if you take an average of two points per game then you win the league. We’re only a point short. We’re a new side still bonding together. We’ve gone to Whitby and beaten a good side who’d won eight on the trot and kept six successive clean sheets before playing us. The core of the Nantwich side has been there for two or three years, we’re just seven weeks into the season with a new team, so our return is a good one” said Kittrick.

It was as close to a perfect performance as you could get at Whitby and but for two great saves by the Whitby goalkeeper, Matlock might have got a nap hand. “It was a fantastic performance and result at Whitby.

Our game management was good, we thoroughly deserved what we got, we made Whitby look one dimensional, everyone was at it, we were organised and strong.”

Matlock carried that Whitby display into the first half at Nantwich. “In the first half we were by far the better team, we had plenty of chances and should have been more than 1-0 in front. We got the goal shortly before half time, we looked good.

Then after that our game management wasn’t as it should have been. We needed to go long for a spell, try and turn them. I thought they’d change it and come at us. Then after the second goal we did well although some of the lads looked a little heavy legged. We kept on going though right until the end, 3-1 flatters them (Nantwich).

We can take a lot of encouragement from the game. We wanted to try and get back to back wins. For the first half and for seventy per cent of the second half we were as good as we were on Saturday without the end product.”

Kittrick brought in striker Sam Scrivens on loan from Guiseley shortly after releasing midfielder Andrew Wright who has joined Grantham Town. “It’s a shame it’s not worked out for Wrighty, that can happen in football. He’s a smashing lad and we wish him all the best. We’ve brought in Sam who’s a very good footballer who can play anywhere across the front and offers us something a little different to Dan(Bramall). I wanted him to come to us in the summer” Kittrick explained.

Scrivens played a prominent part in Penistone Church’s ultimately unsuccessful NCEL title challenge last season and had a trail at Chesterfield in the pre season campaign, turning out for the Spireites against Matlock, but ended up at Guiseley.

It is a third away game in a week for Matlock on Saturday with a trip to much improved Lancaster City.

“You have to try and beat what’s put in front of you, they’re a good side at home but we need to take the positives from both Whitby and Nantwich into Saturday and do our best to bring home three points.”

Then on Tuesday night it’s the first of three home games in a week with the club he last managed before coming to Matlock, Scarborough Athletic visiting the Proctor Cars Stadium.

This is followed by games against Mickleover Sports next Saturday and Warrington Town on the following Tuesday. The Scarborough game will have added spice with defenders Josh Lacey, Bailey Gooda and James Williamson, plus midfielder Luke Dean all having played under Kittrick at the Flamingland Stadium.

“It’s just another game really although I’ve lots of fond memories from my time there. They’re a good set of fans there. I wasn’t happy with the way I was treated in my departure but that’s water under the bridge now. I’m manager here at Matlock .

I’ve nothing to prove. It’ll be interesting also with the players that were there.” Dean could return to the starting line up at Lancaster having made a substitute’s appearance at Nantwich.

Fellow midfielder Nathan Whitehead though faces a long spell on the sidelines. He retired injured in the home win over Gainsborough Trinity on August Bank Holiday Monday and has been diagnosed with a partial tear in his ACL and meniscus.

Ian Richardson