the npl

Weekly News - 4/3/20

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Weekly News - 4/3/20

Manager Paul Phillips says he is “proud” of his Matlock Town side following Tuesday night’s volatile home 1-1 draw with Morpeth Town.

Both teams were reduced to ten men in separate incidents either side of the interval, Matlock having to survive the longest following Spencer Harris’ 43rd minute red card after a confrontation with Carl Finnigan, the Highwaymen seeing midfielder Stephen Turnbull sent off for a horror challenge on Jude Oyibo just after the hour.

Marcus Marshall slid Matlock into a 54th minute lead following a cross from debutant Alex Byrne but Ryan Hutchinson’s 78th minute header spoilt new goalkeeper Kyle Trenerry’s hopes of a clean sheet and win in his first game for the Gladiators.

“I’m proud of the players although I feel it’s two points dropped” said Phillips.

“I’ve just told them in there they kept going and that’s what we need. When Spencer got sent off if someone would have said we’d get a point, I’d have snatched their hand off because they’re a big strong team who try to hurt you by pushing you back and looking for the seconds. It was key that we held on until half time. Then we put Dwayne Wiley to centre half, brought on Ben Gordon who I thought was superb but unfortunately had to take young James Tague off. I was disappointed by what Spencer did, he gave the referee the opportunity to send him off, but the team responded well and I thought we’d win it when Marshy scored. We’d hit the post twice and the bar and at 1-0 up wasted good chances to add to our lead before they equalised.”

Phillips has made three signings since the home defeat to Whitby in their previous outing. Trennery, once with FC Halifax Town, comes in from Farsley Celtic, where he won an NPL Premier Division Title winners medal last season. Byrne began the season at Warrington but moved to Buxton and scored the Bucks’ opening goal in their 4-2 Boxing Day win at the Proctor Cars Stadium, He has often been a thorn in Matlock’s side in his days at Shaw Lane and Gainsborough Trinity. Adam Kimberley has also been added to the squad on a dual registration basis from Clay Cross Town.

Trenerry and Byrne both had outstanding matches against Morpeth.

“They were outstanding and I’m delighted we’ve got them here. Kyle’s here to challenge Jon Stewart for the goalkeeper’s shirt and while we have a lot of wingers at the club, I wanted to get Alex in, I wanted him while I was at Buxton and in my time at Ashton. You could see why I wanted him in his performance tonight although his balls into the box weren’t quite up to their usual quality. A couple of times though he put the ball on a plate for us and I feel that’s something we’ve missed. He hadn’t played for two weeks. For me a winger’s got to do as much off the ball as on it, you’ve got to have the hunger to win it back and I don’t think the lads we’ve had on the wing when I came have got that same hunger. It’s a culture we’ve got to change.”

Phillips added he is looking long term with his new recruits.

“I’m not only looking at bringing people in to get us out of this bit of a predicament we find ourselves in, I’m looking further forward towards next season. We’ve got to get safe first of all, try and win a cup and then look to push on upwards and out of this league next season. No disrespect to the previous manager, but when we walked into the club we had players in there who lacked heart, lacked the desire to win and it was more of an individual game than a club culture. We can’t have that.”

With the postponement of last weekend’s trip to Atherton Colleries, Matlock still now have sixteen league games to play starting at Hyde United on Saturday and continuing at Warrington Town on Tuesday Add in their away Integro League Cup tie at Newcastle Town on Thursday 19 March, it all adds up to a massively busy end to the season.

“I wasn’t planning on bringing lots more players in but defensively I might be looking as we’re a bit light there, so it could be loans and some players from the North east Counties and North West Counties Leagues to make sure we have the numbers to cope with the sheer weight of games” Phillips added.

Looking ahead to the next two games, Phillips believes they will be contrasting matches.

“Warrington will probably be very much like the Morpeth game while Hyde are more of a footballing team. I went to watch them last Saturday when they beat a very good Lancaster side 5-2, they’re good going forward so we’ll have to ensure we don’t overcommit, but there’s things at the back we’re going to look to exploit if we can.

Both Marshall and Oyibo picked up ankle injuries against Morpeth which will need to be assessed but Luke Hinsley will be having a cortisone injury to give him the chance of a return from his ankle injury at the weekend. Sam Scrivens may also be included after being left out against Morpeth for missing Saturday’s training session.

Boss Paul Phillips has heaped praise on both the Matlock groundstaff and the supporters.

The Proctor Cars Stadium pitch played remarkably well in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Morpeth Town. Had Matlock been at home last Saturday when their scheduled game at Atherton Colleries was postponed, they would most likely have played, despite the torrential rain which had fallen beforehand.

“Our groundsmen have been simply magnificent. To get the pitch in the condition it was before we played on Tuesday night was a fantastic effort and they deserve all the praise they get. I said to the lads that if we show the same commitment, effort and determination that the lads preparing the ground have done, we’ll go a long way.”

Phillips added that the fans played their part on Tuesday in spite of the game attracting Matlock’s lowest attendance of the season so far at 249.

“It was a cold night, FA Cup football was on the box but there was a good atmosphere here and the fans got behind us after they could so easily have turned against us after losing to Whitby. They could see the effort the lads put in. I’d like to thank each and every one of our fans, stay with us, for we all need to be as one to move up that table and try and bring home a cup”

Ian Richardson