the npl

Weekly News - 22/12/19

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Weekly News - 22/12/19

Matlock boss Steve Kittrick says he is “immensely proud” of his players after a physically demanding week which saw an extra time and penalty shoot out victory at Conference National Chorley ahead of a tough clash at Bamber Bridge last weekend which saw Matlock emerge as 2-1 winners.

The Gladiators league form has been patchy recently, their last league win being against Mickleover on October 12, although cup games have dominated Matlock’s recent match programme.

Bamber Bridge had the same number of points as Matlock going into the clash at Irongate, but Brig had played four more games so the win for Matlock was a vital one.

“We said we wanted the lads to show the same kind of commitment in the league games as they had in the cup and we did that on Saturday” said Kittrick.

“I though we battled really well, especially when they(Bamber Bridge) had their good spells so I’m more than pleased with the performance and the result. There was the extra time on Tuesday and the midweek journey, and it’s a funny time of year. You like to think that everyone will be sensible on Mad Friday but it’s one of those situations, the lads have jobs and there’ll be works parties. They’re semi pro and I thought the lads’ commitment was excellent and I’m immensely proud of them.”

Goals from Marcus Marshall and substitute Dan Bramall ensured Town returned home with all three points ahead of the first A6 derby with Buxton at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Boxing Day.

“We started a bit slow on Saturday, I knew that could happen but we grew and grew into the game. We battled through the spells of pressure from Bamber Bridge but in the end it could have been 3 or 4-1 to us with those chances towards the end. It was a real pleasure to see the togetherness in the squad.”

Boxing Day is Kittrick’s first A6 derby and Matlock will need to show the same commitment as in the last three matches against a Bucks side who look to be improving after a torrid start to the season which has unexpectedly seen them in the relegation zone for long periods. A recent management change has seen Gary Hayward move from Hednesford Town to replace Paul Phillips and Hayward to date is unbeaten in three matches, their most recent result being a 5-0 hammering of Scarborough Athletic last weekend.

Matlock fans will not need reminding of Buxton’s last visit to the Proctor Cars Stadium when the Gladiators were on the end of a 6-0 thumping last Easter.

“A 6-0 defeat isn’t good in a local derby but I certainly won’t be mentioning it, Yatesy (Adam Yates) might, but that’s out of the way now and our team has changed significantly from then. They have good strikers in Liam Hardy and Diego Degirolamo who obviously we’ll have to watch but don’t forget we’ve got Marshy who’s scoring goals, Luke Hinsley’s playing well and we’ve got Chib as well. We need to go out and perform like we have done in the two games against Chorley and battle like we did at Bamber Bridge.”

Skipper Yates looks likely to miss out again against Buxton as he recovers from his hamstring trouble but midfielder Jack Rea should be in line for a recall after illness. Yates may make the squad for the New Years Day trip to Gainsborough Trinity.

Ian Richardson