the npl

Weekly News - 6/12/23

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Weekly News - 6/12/23

The last week’s poor weather has frustrated Matlock Town manager Martin Carruthers but has also left him counting his blessings.

Last Saturday’s 9.30 am postponement of the home game with Lancaster City was news that he didn’t want but expected to hear. Sub zero temperatures in the four days and nights beforehand meant that the Match Off signs going up would be a formality.

Having won five of their previous six league matches, Carruthers wanted the chance to maintain their decent home form with everyone at the club desperate for a Saturday afternoon home game which would have been the Gladiators first for a month.

“It was really frustrating, we wanted a much needed home game after a series of away matches and with our recent record we wanted to try and take advantage of the opportunity for three more home points. Confidence was high, the lads were desperate to play but these things happen in football and all you can do is get on with it.”

Only three out of eleven scheduled NPL Premier Division matches were played last Saturday so the NPL took the decision to move the eight postponed matches en bloc to the spare Saturday of 9 March.

But Carruthers was far from upset when news came through that the away game at Whitby Town was postponed after snow and heavy rain had made the pitch at the Towbar Express Stadium unplayable.

“That was a blessing for us as Jonny Margetts, Harry Wood and Finlay Armond would have been missing through injury.We don’t want to miss games but it was an awkward trip in midweek and it was disappointing that lads still had to have time off work in spite of the decision being made just after breakfast.”

Matlock were due to be at home in the league on Saturday but scheduled opponents Macclesfield are in FA Trophy action.

The Gladiators therefore arranged a home friendly with Chesterfield under 23’s which will have a noon kick off. Admission is £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and under 16’s will be admitted free of charge.

Chairman Jay Beaumont says arranging the game was important for various reasons.

“We haven’t had a lot of home games lately and our fans must be feeling starved of football so arranging this game fulfils a number of objectives with regards to income, giving the players a game instead of training and giving our fans a game to watch. “

Carruthers wants to make the most of an unexpected opportunity to give his players some match action ahead of a busy Christmas period.

“Everyone who’s fit will be utilised, it’ll give lads who haven’t featured much lately some minutes and keep those who have been in the side sharp.”

Attention then turns to the Derbyshire Senior Cup when on Wednesday evening the Gladiators host Shirebrook Town at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

Shirebrook currently sit in third place in the Toolstation NCEL First Division and will be looking forward to having the chance to topple higher placed opponents.

“Any Senior Cup competition is important, I was lucky to win the Notts Senior Cup three times while I was at Basford. We’ll not be taking Shirebrook lightly, they’ve got some good players including Ash Grayson and Nat Watson who’ve played for me before, so we’ll be putting out a strong side and go all out to win the game” Carruthers added.

As expected, Carruthers says that top scorer Jonny Margetts will make his return on Wednesday after sustaining hamstring damage during the FA Trophy defeat at Curzon Ashton on November 18.

“Margo will be available to face Shirebrook, whether he gets the full ninety minutes we’ll have to see but we want to get him ready for a tough and very important league game at Bamber Bridge a week on Saturday. He’s buzzing having only really missed two games with his injury and I know he can’t wait to return to the side and score goals again” Carruthers confirmed.

Margetts along with Wood and Armond won’t feature in Saturday’s friendly with Wood and Armond doing light work with sports therapist Andy Henson.

“We’ll reassess Harry and Fin for the Shirebrook game but we’ve a busy Christmas period coming up so we’ll take no chances with them”

Admission prices for the Shirebrook tie have been reduced to £8 for adults, £5 for concessions, £3 for ages 16 to 18 , £2 for ages 11-16 with children 10 and under being admitted free.

Ian Richardson