the npl

Weekly News - 31/10/19

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Weekly News - 31/10/19

Matlock safely negotiated their tricky Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round tie at Carlton Town on Wednesday night to earn a home clash with Ashton United on Saturday week.

The Gladiators were due at Carlton’s Stoke Lane headquarters last Saturday but incessant heavy rain made for a waterlogged pitch, the game failing a mid morning pitch inspection.

“It was frustrating for us all” said Matlock boss Steve Kittrick. “Obviously we wanted to get the game played but the decision was totally understandable, the conditions were ridiculous.”

So the sides converged on Stoke Lane in midweek, Matlock edging through 2-1, the final scoreline being far closer than it should have been at the interval. A Jordan Sinnott penalty and a Luke Hinsley volley gave them a 2-0 half time advantage before Matlock had second half wobbles but survived as Carlton’s solitary reply came from former Gladiator Tyler Blake in the 68th minute.

Kittrick admitted his side was poor in the second period after dominating the opening half.

“There was only one team in it in the first half but then we let them in. I don’t understand it, we’ve just talked about it in the dressing room, the lads don’t understand it either. No disrespect to Carlton but you could easily tell who was the higher division side in the first half. We were poor after half time, full credit to Carlton for pushing us all the way, we ended up having to battle really hard to get the right result.”

Attention now turns back to league business and when the news came through of last weekend’s match being called off, Kittrick took time out to watch this coming Saturday’s opponents Mickleover Sports, also in the Nottingham area, Sports falling to a 3-0 defeat on Basford United’s artificial surface.

“From our point of view we depend on the lads doing their own thing with regards to fitness and training in these circumstances as it was too late to organise an official training session. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at them.”

Matlock should know Mickleover relatively well, having beaten them 3-1 at the Proctor Cars Stadium just under three weeks ago. But the Gladiators have never won a competitive fixture against Sports at Mickleover, in fact, the only time they have not been beaten was last season when the sides fought out a close but competitive scoreless draw.

“It’ll be a tough game, Mickleover have a good side and despite the scoreline at Basford, had chances to probably get something out of the game. It would be nice for us to do a double and put that bad record we have there to bed. It’s a quick turnaround. In the first game we were the better side on the day but we’re inconsistent. We need to get on it, get on a run. We seem to play well for 60 to 70 minutes in games. Against Warrington we did well in the first half and lost it during the second half. At Radcliffe it was much the same thing. The defeats have been marginal, down to individual mistakes. Football’s all about making the right decisions and the players have got to understand that. We should have been set and strong when we conceded at Radcliffe.”

Radcliffe’s winner was again due to Matlock conceding shortly after half time. They had let in two in the first seven minutes against Warrington after leading at half time and Nantwich also scored early in the second half after being behind.

“We need to be solid in the first ten minutes of either half and it’s something we addressed at training last Thursday. The penny will hopefully drop. Once we click again, we’ll be looking to go on a run.”

Kittrick may need to add to his squad in the coming days having seen defender James Williamson move to Tadcaster Albion and Guiseley recall forward Sam Scrivens before the end of his loan period late last week.

Another Guiseley loanee, Scott Smith is back in the Lions’ squad after spending two months with the Gladiators.

Piteu Crouz completed his three match ban at Carlton but top scorer Marcus Marshall was available again after being suspended for the Radcliffe match having been booked five times this season.

Recent signing Chib Chilaka will be facing the side he was with at the start of the season on Saturday. He joined Mickleover from Hyde United in the close season before moving on to Grantham Town, scoring on his debut against the Gladiators in a 2-2 draw in September.

Matlock’s Derbyshire Senior Cup campaign gets under way on Wednesday with a trip to East Midlands Counties League Borrowash Victoria. The Gladiators will be without Adam Yates who will be suspended for this game after he was sent off in last season’s semi final defeat by Alfreton Town.

Ian Richardson.