the npl

Weekly News - 26.4.23

Posted on
Weekly News - 26.4.23

“It’s what we want to aspire to”.

These were the words of Matlock Town boss Martin Carruthers after the Gladiators were comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Warrington Town in the NPL Premier Division play off semi final at Cantilever Park on Tuesday night.

A 1-0 win at Marine and defeats for both Hyde United (3-1 at Warrington Town) and Radcliffe, (2-1 at Nantwich Town) meant that Matlock, outsiders before the start of play, snuck into the play-offs by the back door, eventually having a two points cushion over their rivals. Jamie Sharman headed in the winner in the 56th minute to book a second successive play=off spot for the Gladiators.

So an unbelievably quick turnaround saw them head to Warrington who had finished in second spot but this is where the journey ended.

Matlock were demolished as three goals in thirteen minutes in the final quarter of an hour of the first half came on top of a 12th minute opener for the Yellows to leave a shell shocked Matlock four goals adrift come half time. It might have been worse but for goalkeeper Saul Deeney who saved them from an even more emphatic defeat on numerous occasions, although they did have the consolation of a worldie of a strike from Brad Abbott five minutes from the end.

Carruthers was full of praise for Warrington who will now meet Bamber Bridge in Monday afternoon’s final at Cantilever Park, Brig having beaten Gainsborough Trinity after a penalty shoot out following a 1-1 draw.

“We were well beaten by a far superior side, it was men against boys, they’re the best side I’ve seen at this level for five or six years, their movement, their rotation and the quality of their counter attacking is really outstanding, I think and no disrespect to South Shields, that they’re a better side than Shields and I’ll be really shocked if they don’t go on and win the final against Bamber Bridge .We simply couldn’t match them, they’re a side three years in the making and it’s what we want to aspire to.”

Carruthers admitted that in hindsight, he should have selected a different side. It was a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The Town boss kept an unchanged starting line up and formation from the game at Marine, a decision most fans would have approved of..

“The lads had done well so I went with the same side but if I had my time over again, I would probably have gone 5-3-2 with different personnel but you learn from these types of things”.

So what was said after a first half mauling?

“I said to the lads we had to play for pride, we can’t down tools, don’t go out like this! We won the second half but they’d taken their foot off the gas a bit, having said that I felt we showed real character to make a game of it. Saul Deeney made some great saves, he was our man of the match. He had no chance with any of the goals all of which were really good goals, he’d made a great save in the first goal but nobody reacted to the loose ball. Saul’s had a great game for us. We’re all disappointed but the lads should be proud of what they’ve done, we’ve just come up against a very very good side who were bang on form.”

So with the season now over what does Carruthers make of his time at Matlock so far?

“I’ve loved every minute of it, it's a very family orientated club and Wayne (Hallcro) and me are delighted to be here, the club has made us both feel really welcome. Attendances at Matlock are brilliant, the club has real energy and vibe and we love being around the place. We’ve had challenges along the way and making the play-offs, given our position a few weeks ago is a real bonus. Now we’ve got to crack on and try to do even better next year. Our fans deserve this, they’ve been absolutely magnificent whether we’ve won, drawn or been beaten. We had a brilliant following at Marine and the fans on Tuesday kept on backing us even when we were being well beaten and they hadn’t got a lot to get excited about. We want to give a big thank you to every single one of them and we hope they’re looking forward to the awards night and next season.”

Matlock’s Awards night is in the Shorts Lounge on Saturday May 20 (7.30 pm onwards) when with the management and playing squad in attendance, presentations will be made to the fans player, players’ player, leading goalscorer, young player, manager’s player and the club person of the year. With entertainment and food provided, tickets cost £5 for adults, £3 for 12 to 18 year olds with those under 10 accompanied by an adult free.

Meanwhile striker Alex Duhameau who has been on loan from Chesterfield picked up an award of his own this week being named as Chesterfield’s Academy Player of the Year. Duhameau has been a regular in the Gladiators side since coming to the Proctor Cars Stadium and currently has one goal to his name, the winner against Atherton Colleries on April 8.