the npl

Weekly News - 29/5/19

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Weekly News - 29/5/19

After agreeing to terms earlier in the summer, striker Marcus Marshall signed on the dotted line for the Gladiators on Tuesday night before handing over season tickets to the first two paying Town fans for the 2019/20 campaign.

Marshall joined Matlock from Alfreton at the start of last season and was initially deployed in midfield until Dave Frecklington switched him to a striking role which transformed Marshall’s and Matlock’s fortunes. He finished as the Gladiators second top scorer with eleven goals despite of missing most of the latter part of the campaign through injury.

“I enjoy the place, the homely feeling, everyone’s welcoming here” said Marshall.

“People speak highly of the new players, I’ve only heard good things about them. I want to play up front, be in the thick of it, I want to be scoring goals and helping the team.”

Frank Lane and Chris Dodds were in attendance when Marshall signed and are pictured being presented with their season tickets by Marshall.

Matlock have frozen season ticket prices with an adult ticket costing £160 if renewed before 1 August and include free admission to Matlock’s home pre-season friendlies. The reduced price for concessions is £105. After 1 August the prices are £180 and £115 respectively.

Matlock expects to announce further new additions to their squad after four new players walked through the door last weekend.

Striker Luke Hinsley returned from Frickley Athletic after a five months spell under Frecklington last season and is joined by left-back Ben Gordon from Gainsborough Trinity, Scarborough Athletic midfielder Luke Dean and winger Piteu Crouz from Belper Town.

Midfielder Greg Tempest has left to join Grantham Town.

Meanwhile, two more pre-season friendlies have been announced with Premiership Sheffield United sending a side to face the Gladiators at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday 30 July. United finished second behind champions Norwich City to earn automatic promotion from the Championship. The other game is at Frickley Athletic on Saturday, July 20.

The Gladiators full list of pre season games reads as follows:

Saturday 13 July, HOME v Burton Albion Kick Off 3 pm
Tuesday 16 July, HOME v Chesterfield, Kick Off 7.30 pm *(not 7.45 pm as previously advertised)
Saturday 20 July, away v Frickley Athletic, Kick Off 3 pm
Saturday 27 July, away v Worksop Town, Kick Off 3 pm
Tuesday 30 July, HOME v Sheffield United, Kick Off 7.30 pm
Saturday 3 August, away v Loughborough Dynamo, Kick Off 3pm
Saturday 10 August, away v Lincoln United, Kick Off 3 pm

Piteu Crouz is one of Chelsea star Eden Hazard’s biggest fans and with Hazard being one of the most dangerous attacking players in world football, he is not a bad role model for Matlock Town’s new winger.

Crouz (22) made the short trip up the A6 from Belper Town where he was the Evo-Stik East Division’s player of the year last term. He made his mark against the Gladiators last season, claiming assists as Belper scored from his crosses in both the pre season friendly and then in the Derbyshire Senior Cup quarter-final when Matlock won 2-1 at the Proctor Cars Stadium last December.

“Eden Hazard’s my idol,” said Crouz. “I watch him all of the time and want to play as close to him as I can.”

That may seem a tough challenge but Crouz does not lack confidence and he may play a key role this term with Matlock’s talisman wide man Craig King being ruled out for a long time with a knee injury.

“I want to try and do what I did last season with Belper. It’s a league higher with Matlock so it’ll be harder but I want to excite the fans. From a team point of view, a top-six finish is a minimum, personally, I want to score goals. I got twelve last season at Belper, I’ll be looking for fifteen this year.”

Cameroonian Crouz started out with Leeds United before playing for a number of non-league clubs including Goole and Tadcaster Albion before being snapped up by the Nailers at the start of last season. He says manager Steve Kittrick being in charge was a huge factor in attracting him to Matlock and he can’t wait for the chance to test himself in the Evo-Stik NPL’s top tier.

“The manager was a big factor in me coming here, I’d heard about the way he plays. I like to play football. I came here with Belper last year in the cup and liked Matlock’s style of play that night, the pitch was decent and I like the area and the stadium. I’m just looking forward to getting started, hopefully, we’ll have a good season and show the fans that we’re up for the challenge.”

New Matlock Town full back Ben Gordon is relishing the chance to shine at the Proctor Cars Stadium following his move from Gainsborough Trinity.

Gordon (28) is one of the first four signings announced by manager Steve Kittrick last weekend, joining returning striker Luke Hinsley, midfielder Luke Dean and winger Piteu Crouz.

While not at the veterans stage in his career yet, Gordon acknowledges that experience gained earlier in his career will be particularly valuable as the Gladiators strive to improve on last season’s 15th placed finish.

Gordon began his footballing travels at Leeds United but moved on to Chelsea. He didn’t make the first team at Stamford Bridge so was loaned out to gain experience in the Football League with Tranmere Rovers, Scunthorpe United, Peterborough United Birmingham City and Yeovil Town.

Spells on loan at Kilmarnock and Ross County in the Scottish Premiership would add to his cv before moving to Colchester United in 2014. He played 104 first team games north and south of the border before his move into non league.

“I’m still only 28 but have gained some good experience over the years and played a fair few non league games as well” said Gordon.

Most of those non-league games were for Boston United and Shaw Lane before he moved to Gainsborough at the start of the 2018/19 campaign when Shaw Lane dropped out of the Evo-Stik NPL.

“I hope I can bring experience to the side and be able to talk and help the younger players through the game. I’m really looking forward to getting started. I played for Gainsborough at Matlock last season, there was a good crowd in and I’m confident we can get a good side together, push up the table and get the crowds in again.”

Gordon is looking for the Gladiators to have a positive 2019/20 campaign with Kittrick at the helm.

“I’ve known about Steve in non-league football for a long time and as soon as he got the job he spoke to me, sold the club and what he wanted to do to me and I’m glad to get it all sorted. Last season it looked as if Matlock might make the playoffs at one point when they were on that good run. We’ll be looking to get a good squad together this year and I know how ambitious the manager is to do well.”

Gordon sees himself as the typical modern left full back with responsibilities at both ends of the pitch.

“The game’s evolved a lot since I was younger, the role of the modern day full back isn’t what it was fourteen or fifteen years ago. It’s my job to not only defend, but to also get forward. I can’t wait for the season to start.”

Ian Richardson