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Weekly News - 21/8/19

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Weekly News - 21/8/19

Given the summer of change, few people would have expected to have seen Steve Kittrick’s Matlock Town at the top of the table after their second game of the new season.

It was only for twenty-four hours with Matlock having gained an outstanding victory at much-fancied Basford United on Monday to back up last Saturday’s opening day win at home to Bamber Bridge before the rest of the division took to the field on Tuesday. Then South Shields, Morpeth Town and Nantwich Town all won their games to push Matlock down to fourth.

Matlock have played with passion and determination and are restoring faith in the hearts of their fans following the troubled end to last season.

A delighted Kittrick says hard work is being rewarded.

“We can’t ask for any more, two games, two wins, two clean sheets is tremendous. The players have worked really hard. You only get out what you put in, we did well on Saturday and everyone gave 110 per cent at Basford.”

Spirits are understandably high in the Matlock camp although Kittrick will have to guard against people getting carried away ahead of a tough August Bank Holiday programme. The Gladiators travel to Stafford Rangers on Saturday where they have lost on their last three visits before returning to the Proctor Cars Stadium on Monday afternoon when Gainsborough Trinity come to town. Trinity have made a number of impressive signings in the summer including former Matlock loan striker Curtis Morrison and are managed by former Matlock favourites Liam King and Ross Hannah.

Kittrick himself has rung the changes at Matlock, the signing of midfielder Jack Rea on Friday bringing his new additions to fourteen since his appointment in May.

Replying to whether he really expected six points from two games to start the season, Kittrick said

“I don’t expect anything but when you’ve got a good dressing room you know you’ve got a chance. It’s a testament to the players that have been fetched in. We weathered the storm at Basford and it was all about keeping a clean sheet in the first half. If we could reach half time without conceding I had a feeling we could press on and make life difficult for Basford in the second half.”

Piteu Crouz’s spectacular free-kick five minutes from time proved to be decisive.

“As time went on I could see something happening as we’d got on top” Kittrick continued.

“It was a great strike, worthy of winning any game. Marcus Marshall’s goal was equally important on Saturday, again we worked hard and we grind sides down. We’ve now two more tough games against Stafford and Gainsborough but they’re all tough in this division. We’re playing two good sides, they’ll be two different and difficult tests. But we’ll work hard again to try and get the right results.”

Rea’s signing looks to be Matlock’s last in the immediate future. Kittrick was hoping to add a striker to his ranks but the move fell through at the last moment.

“When the right player comes along then we’ll strengthen the squad but I don’t see any more players in before the weekend.”

He will be hoping that Spencer Harris, who missed the first two matches through injury and club captain Adam Yates who sat out the Basford win after picking up an ankle knock on Saturday, will be back in contention for the Bank Holiday matches.

The Matlock boss also praised the away support at Basford. The Gladiators travelled in numbers and boosted the gate at Greenwich Avenue to over 500, around twice the hosts’ usual attendance.

“Thank you for the great support, it was tremendous to see so many of our fans here, It’s onwards and upwards,” he said.

Ian Richardson