the npl

Weekly News - 6.10.21

Posted on
Weekly News - 6.10.21

Matlock Town moved three points clear at the top of the Pitching IN NPL Premier Division on Tuesday night, but manager Paul Phillips was far from happy as he analysed the 1-0 home win over Mickleover.

It was a fourth successive win, a third successive 1-0 victory and their eleventh from thirteen league matches to make it an impressive opening sequence to the season, but Phillips was looking at the bigger picture.

He was smiling after Saturday’s home win over FC United of Manchester but those smiles disappeared as it was a case of the result dwarfing an in and out show in the Derbyshire derby.

“For me the only positive was the three points and another clean sheet” Phillips snapped.

“I thought we were sluggish and unrecognisable from the team which had done so well on Saturday. Two of the substitutes didn’t bring any energy into the game , I must hold my hands up for that and I think Mickleover were unlucky not to get anything from the game.”

Phillips is certainly a hard taskmaster as he revealed the players had been told after the game that their performance was nowhere near good enough.

“We were miles off it, it’s not about effort, it’s discipline and we need to do much better than that.”

The last two performances have been like chalk and cheese.

“We deserved the win against FC United, we were organised, big, brave and on the front foot, we were the better team. But the Mickleover game shows we still have some work to do and it was disappointing that with a good crowd in, the fans haven’t seen the best of us. On the flip side we had four or five gilt edged chances. We needed the second goal, to be more decisive in the box and then we could enjoy the game, had we played a better side we’d have been punished.”

After the weekend’s fixtures, Matlock led the table having scored one more goal than previous leaders South Shields who were held to a scoreless draw at Nantwich Town. The Mariners then came a cropper at Bamber Bridge in midweek as they lost for the first time by a 3-0 margin.

So Matlock head to Atherton Colleries on Saturday before they are on the road again on Tuesday as they travel to struggling Grantham Town.

Atherton were hit by a last minute extra time penalty to lose their FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round replay 3-2 to Marine in midweek but they have made a reasonable start to the league campaign lying in 15th spot with thirteen points from their nine games played. Grantham after winning 4-1 at Witton Albion were hammered 5-0 at Stalybridge where they had former Matlock striker Jonathan Wafula sent off.

“Both games represent banana skins for us, we’re now a scalp so we’ve got to do what we didn’t do against Mickleover by conducting ourselves in the right way and doing the right things in the right areas.”

Phillips will be boosted by the return to the squad of Ross Hannah and Callum Chippendale after injury so the Gladiators gaffer looks like having virtually a first choice squad to select from.

His options increased last week with the return after an eight year absence of midfielder Liam King to join his brother in law Ross Hannah at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

Phillips also signed midfielder Arum Soleman from Tamworth and striker Tyreese Onyeke on loan from Crewe Alexandra.

Ian Richardson