the npl

Weekly News - 6.2.24

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Weekly News - 6.2.24

The weather again intervened to deny Matlock Town fans a home game and the club vital income when heavy rain late in the afternoon caused the Proctor Cars Stadium to be waterlogged on Tuesday ahead of the scheduled clash with Gainsborough Trinity.

In normal circumstances an inspection would have taken place around 3.30 pm to avoid Trinity travelling across to Derbyshire and also avoid the wastage of food brought in for refreshment kiosks and hospitality.

“The pitch was fit at 3.30 and the inspecting referee would have given the go ahead. The problem was heavy rain over the teatime period and when the match referee arrived at 6.10 pm, he inspected and ruled the pitch to be unfit. It was a game we desperately wanted to be played but again the elements have worked against us. We understand the frustration of anyone who travelled to the game, especially those from Gainsborough but at the end of the day the weather had the final say” said a Matlock spokesman.

Manager Martin Carruthers was also disappointed the match did not go ahead.

“We saw it as a great opportunity to get back to winning ways, now we’ve again got back to back away league matches but there-s no point in moaning about it, we’ve got to get on with it”.

The Gladiators travel to second placed Warrington Rylands on Saturday looking to put their last gasp defeat at Lancaster City last weekend behind them. Christian Sloan hit a twenty five yarder that whistled low past goalkeeper Saul Deeney’s dive as the game entered stoppage time for the only goal of the game and Carruthers feels that his side deserved more for their efforts.

“We were good value for a point at the very least, we were totally dominant and if JJ (John Johnston) had taken that very good chance midway through the first half we’d probably have gone on to win two or three nil. They (Lancaster) didn’t create much and I thought we were about to break a hoodoo of our bogy team (Matlock also lost very late on at Lancaster last season). It’s extremely disappointing to concede in the 90th minute but I can’t fault the lads application and effort, the only thing was that we were a little lacking in the final third.”

Rylands will be looking for a league double over the Gladiators having won 4-2 at the Proctor Cars Stadium in September. But last weekend they were surprisingly beaten at home by relegation haunted Bradford (Park Avenue ), the Yorkshire side netting an 87th minute winner. Rylands also had central defender James Butler sent off in what turned out to be a bad end to their week as talented centre forward Adama Sidibeh who left to join Scottish Premier League St Johnstone. The pacy Sidibeh tormented Matlock’s defence throughout their victory scoring twice .

“We saw what a good side they are at our place so it’s going to be a very tough game. We don’t know how they’re going to react to that defeat and losing their best striker but we’ve got to go there in a positive frame of mind . Their manager’s done a really good job there, they’ve offered him another contract and he’s got players who’ve got good movement and pace, but last Saturday proved they can be beaten so we’ve got to go there and strive to bring home all three points with us” said Carruthers.

The Gladiators are then away again on Tuesday when they visit National League North Buxton in the semi final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup. Matlock will go into the tie as underdogs as they bid for a final spot when they would face either Heanor Town or Long Eaton United who meet at Heanor on Valentine’s Night.

The Bucks won their quarter final against Derby County under 21’s on Tuesday after a penalty shoot out brought about by a 1-1 scoreline over the ninety minutes. There could be some familiar faces in the hosts’ squad and on the bench with manager Craig Elliott who was at Matlock last season and was succeeded in the hot seat by Carruthers. Jon Stewart is head goalkeeping coach while on the field player coach Ryan Qualter was a firm favourite at Matlock and also on the books at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium is central defenders Jake Hull and Max Hunt.

Striker Scott Boden made the move in the opposite direction but will not have the pleasure if facing his former club due to being cup tied having featured for the Bucks in their 3rd Round win against Stapenhill. Matlock will also be without Michael Williams and Callum Moore and with forward Anthony Dwyer having moved on to Walsall Wood, Carruthers is well aware of the need to strengthen the Gladiators’ squad.

“I’m working hard to bring the right player in and will continue to do so, no stone will be left unturned. We’ve been talking to strikers and it’s a matter of getting the right deal for the club.”

Carruthers says everyone is fighting fit ahead of the weekend, the only absentee will again be midfielder Olly Clark who will complete his three match league ban.

Midfielder Connor Dimaio will remain on loan at Rainworth MW for a further month.

“Unfortunately with games being off he’s not had enough game time to get his fitness up to where he wants it to be and to be able to be strong enough for this league, so he’ll stay at Rainworth and continue to build his fitness and be able to return to us ready for the last couple of months of the season” Carruthers added.

Ian Richardson