the npl

Weekly News - 27/11/19

Posted on
Weekly News - 27/11/19

After progression in two cup competitions this week, Matlock boss Steve Kittrick wants the results and form to be transferred to their league campaign.

The Gladiators travel to Grantham Town on Saturday having collected only nine points out of the last thirty six on offer after a faultless start to the season which brought maximum points from their opening four matches.

They led the table at the end of August but now find themselves down in twelfth and anxious to fight their way back into the promotion pack.

“We’re hit and miss at the moment so it’s important we take these two cup wins in the last week into Saturday when we need to be organised, strong, professional and play with flair and belief” said Kittrick.

After a rather low key showing in the home defeat to Stalybridge Celtic a fortnight ago, the Gladiators improved immeasurably in the Buildbase FA Trophy victory , albeit against a limited Redditch United at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday to earn a home tie with National League Premier League Chorley on December 14.

Then on Tuesday at Belper in the Integro League Cup, they recovered a two goal deficit to level and deservedly go through to a tie at Basford United after a penalty shoot out.

“There was only going to be one winner against Redditch, I thought we played really well, our game management was much better and we scored two very good goals. We’d started the second half well which was pleasing given our previous problems at this time in games. True, Redditch weren’t the best but you can only beat what’s in front of you and we were comfortable winners.”

Kittrick gave debuts to both goalkeeper Dan Wallis and winger Tomas Poole in the Trophy tie, both coming through with flying colours.

Wallis (20), has been signed from Norwegian outfit Valdres FK having gone there during the summer after being released by Sheffield Wednesday.

He actually faced Matlock in pre season on trial at Chesterfield. He had a solid debut, before starring in the penalty shoot out at Belper, his save from Nathan Curtis proving to ba a match winner. Wallis replaced regular number one Jon Stewart who is currently serving a suspension from the FA for breaching their betting rules and will not be available until after 21 December.

Twenty seven years old Poole has been at both Rainworth MW and Worksop Town before joining Staveley MW from where he was signed last Thursday. Polle proved to be a livewire on the right and his tremendous cross found the stooping figure of top scorer Marcus Marshall to nod Matlock in front against Redditch.

“Dan’s done a great job considering also he only joined us last Thursday. He got a well earned clean sheet on Saturday and did very well against Belper when we needed him, his night being capped by saving the penalty for us to win the game.

Tucker (Poole) did well on Saturday, he hadn’t played for a month and did well against Belper but was starting to tire a bit so we took him off as a precaution as we didn’t want him to pull anything” Kittrick added.

Assessing the Belper game, the Matlock chief said his side had more chances than the high flying South East Division hosts who are unbeaten in their ten league games to date.

“We had ninety per cent of the possession in the first half only to be 2-0 down, we needed to do things a bit more quickly We changed things at half time going 4-4-2, we got back in the game with the two goals and had more chances.”

Winger Pitou Crouz had a great night against his old club, scoring the first goal and making the second before netting in the penalty shoot out. Crouz left Belper to join the Gladiators in the summer.

Fellow African Chib Chilaka equalised with one of his first touches after replacing Luke Hinsley. “Piteu didn’t have a particularly good first half but grew into the game, scoring and claiming an assist and might have scored another while Chib’s come on and scored almost straightaway so we’re pleased for both of them.”

On the Chorley FA Trophy tie, Kittrick said it is a game to look forward to but Matlock have other important games before then.

“Chorley are a Conference side, a good side who’ve found life a little difficult being part time in a full time league, this kind of thing can happen but they’ve won their last two games so might have turned the corner. It’s a tough ask but we’re at home, we’ll address it though when we come to it as we need to start picking up some league points again.”

Ian Richardson