the npl

Weekly News - 20/11/19

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Weekly News - 20/11/19

Matlock Town will be hoping to cast aside what manager Steve Kittrick described as “our worst performance of the season” in last weekend’s home defeat to Stalybridge Celtic when they welcome Redditch United to the Proctor Cars Stadium in the third qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday.

The Gladiators had been waiting for just over a week for Redditch and Barwell to settle their tie which went to a replay at Redditch on Tuesday after a 3-3 draw at Barwell in the first match, There were goals in the replay as Redditch scored in the last minute to edge through by a 3-2 scoreline.

On the Stalybridge game Kittrick agreed that his side never really got going and were second best.

“It was 1-0 but it was probably our worst performance of the season. Their goalkeeper didn’t have any real saves to make although it could have been 4-2 to them at half time. We were still in it so that does show a bit of resolve. Our back four defended very well but we need to defend better all over the park.”

Matlock slid down to twelfth spot after the defeat. Kittrick remains confident there is enough in the squad to climb back into the top five, but he is looking to add to the squad before the weekend.

“As I said last week, a couple of wins and you can be back in the top six, two or three defeats can see you slip down the league. Anyone can beat anyone in this league. There’s only been South Shields in the first half and Stalybridge last Saturday that I feel have troubled us. Our form at the moment’s disappointing but we’ll get it right.”

“ We had a great run at the start of the season and we’re having a blip at the moment, I’m sure things will right themselves and even things out. I’m not happy at the moment but we’re four points off the top five. It’s fine margins. Some players could do better, be more consistent. We were great in the games against Mickleover at home, up at Whitby and in the first half versus Warrington. We’ve got to get the lads confident again, I’m not going to pick out individuals but the lads themselves know they’re not doing as well as they can. On paper we’re a very good side, it’s a matter of working hard to get through this tough time we’re having at present.”

Striker Chib Chilaka who scored five in the 7-1 Derbyshire Senior Cup win at Borrowash, had to be content with a place on the bench on Saturday.

“No disrespect to Borrowash but it’s a big step up to our league” explained Kittrick.

“I don’t think Chib himself expected to start, he’s not played a lot of football and had just had his first ninety minutes three days before. He’s not 21 anymore and I think we’ll get the best from him by easing him into things. We didn’t want him pulling anything and when he’s fully up to speed he’ll score goals for us.”

The Matlock boss added that there may be additions to the squad before this weekend,

“We’ll have two new lads hopefully by Thursday, one can play in the Trophy, one can’t and there might actually be three depending on how things go”.

Redditch, like Matlock, have shown better recent form in knockout football than in the league.

They currently lie in the relegation zone in the Southern League Premier Central Division with only two wins and nine points from their fifteen league games to date. But they have shown impressive form to knock out Corby and Barwell to earn their trip to Matlock.

“Redditch’s league form isn’t the best but they’ve done better in cup matches so we’ll need to be aware of that and compete and play as we know we can. We’ve two cup games on the bounce now (Matlock’s Integro Cup tie at Belper has been delayed until Tuesday night after flooding problems at Belper’s ground), they’re a distraction from the league but I’d rather have three league wins. But a win against Redditch could see us come up against a Conference National Premier side which would be great for everyone connected with our club so we’ll be hoping to continue our good set of cup results on Saturday.”

If a replay is needed against Redditch, it will be in Worcestershire on Tuesday night and the Belper match will be delayed yet again.

Matlock have been handed a home draw against Alfreton Town in the last eight of the Derbyshire Senior Cup with this game set for Tuesday 10 December.

Ian Richardson