the npl

Weekly News - 5.4.23

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Weekly News - 5.4.23

Matlock Town boss Martin Carruthers paid tribute to his squad as two wins in four days has kept their play-off challenge alive.

A 2-0 victory at Liversedge was followed by a crucial 3-2 verdict in a six pointer battle with Marine at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night in a match where Matlock might just have uncovered a gem and a star for the future.

Seventeen years old Archie White was given a debut and everyone who attended left the stadium marvelling at a scintillating first performance which could easily have brought him a brace of goals to add to his assist for Karl Demidh’s second half winner.

“Archie White was outstanding” said Carruthers.

“He could have got himself a couple of goals and he’s been showing form like that in training so I’d got no hesitation in putting him in. What a performance, and the bonus was that for such a young lad, he’s managed to last the ninety minutes comfortably. Mark my words, this lad’s going to be a very good player for this football club.”

White is the son of former Matlock midfield general Rockie White, who with the rest of his family was proudly watching on from the terraces.

Rockie later tweeted “Proud of my 17 years old lad, great debut.” It will take a brave manager to leave Archie White out of the Matlock line up for the Easter programme.

Carruthers was pleased with the win at Liversedge which was their first in six outings.

“It was atough game up there in difficult conditions, we said to the lads that we’d dropped our standards at Whitby and Marske and we needed a reaction and we got one, we dug in when we needed to, had a bit of luck at 1-0 before getting the vital second goal.”

But the Marine performance pleased Carruthers just as much as the majority of the 607 crowd in a ding dong thriller of a game which was a credit to the NPL and non league football in general. Marine had a three points lead over Matlock in the eighth versus seventh clash prior to kick off. It was a game neither side could afford to lose but Matlock could have virtually written off their hopes with anything less than a victory.

Louis Britton shot Marine in front on 15 minutes with Reece Styche equalising on his home debut twelve minutes later to add to his first Matlock goal at Liversedge. AL byrne put Matlock in front in stoppage time at the end of the half only for Britten to notch his second five minutes after the restart. Then White crossed for Demidh to tee up and fire home the winner in the 62nd minute in a game of many chances.

“It was a magnificent effort against Marine, we said to the lads before Saturday, can we achieve the impossible? In football you never know, so we said let’s keep the season alive, let’s try to win as many games as we can and remain unbeaten and so far we’ve done that. The game was great for the neutral and what pleased me the most is that we found a way to win that now puts us level on points with Marine. It was also great to see our two forwards Reece Styche and Karl Demidh both on the scoresheet.”

Attention now turns to the Easter weekend which sees the Gladiators take on Atherton Colleries at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday before making the trip down the A6 on Monday afternoon to face a Belper Town side whose relegation was confirmed on Tuesday night by losing at home to fellow strugglers Marske United.

“These two games might look okay for us on paper but as we know there’s no easy games in this league and we need to be up for them both one hundred per cent. If we show the same attitude as in the past couple of games then we can beat anybody. The objective has to be to try and get another win on Saturday and move on from there.”

Matlock are likely to be without central defender Ioan Evans for Saturday at least after he collected a leg injury at Liversedge, It was initially thought that he would miss the rest of the season but there are faint hopes he might be okay for the Belper trip.

Matlock will of course be keeping a close eye on the results of fellow play-off contenders and it is likely that Matlock will be battling for a 5th placed finish come April 22. Gainsborough Trinity and Hyde United in 5th and 6th spot have 62 points, four more than Marine and the Gladiators.

The Easter fixtures see Marine travelling to Marske on Good Friday before hosting Warrington Town on Easter Monday while Gainsborough are at Lancaster and then at home to Liveredge. Hyde host Morpeth before having a local derby at Stalybridge Celtic.

Meanwhile Carruthers could not hide his delight that the Just Giving appeal to raise £6000 to help fund Connor Dimaio’s career saving ACL reconstruction operation reached it’s target within three days of it being launched. Included in the donations was £1000 from Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, a team mate of Dimaio’s at both Sheffield United and Chesterfield.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the response from the whole footballing world and what a gesture from Aaron Ramsdale to support Connor so well. Connor’s a great lad, it was great to see him at the game on Saturday with his family and so many people went up to talk to him, I can’t thank everyone who has donated and supported Connor in his hour of need enough.”

Dimaio’s operation has been scheduled for Wednesday 26 April and he will then face a recovery period of ten to twelve months.

Ian Richardson