the npl

Weekly News - 7.12.22

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Weekly News - 7.12.22

Matlock boss Craig Elliott says the Gladiators must find some consistency if they are to maintain their challenge for a top five spot.

Since winning at Hyde on 12 November, Matlock are winless in four league and cup games., three ending in defeat. It’s now a case of having to concentrate on the league, for having lost at home to Marske United in the FA Trophy, any hopes of cup glory this season disappeared on Tuesday night when Buxton went home from the Proctor Cars Stadium with a 2-1 win. In the league Matlock surprisingly lost 5-1 at Bamber Bridge before earning a hard earned point at home to Radcliffe last Saturday.

“We need to improve as I’m not entirely happy with the way things are going. Our lack of consistency is absolutely killing us. We need ninety minute performances and a run of five to six matches when we show some consistency and pick up some wins.”

Consistency was certainly a key word as Elliott reflected on the classic game of two halves against Buxton. Matlock looked to be in for a hiding as the National League North visitors established a two goal lead and had several other opportunities to add to their tally. But for the final thirty minutes it was all Matlock but all they had to show for their efforts was Jamie Sharman’s first competitive goal in Matlock colours with nineteen minutes left.

“We were miles off it in the first half, we let ourselves down, we showed them far too much respect” Elliott moaned.

“Buxton are obviously a very good side and you just can’t start off like that against a team pof their calibre. “But I can’t fault them for their second half show. In the end Buxton were hanging on and we were unlucky not to get the equaliser”.

Controversy shrouded Buxton’s second goal when a pass in a Buxton attack struck the referee and they went on to score in the same part of the move. Players and fans protested to referee harry Jones but to no avail.

“I spoke to the referee who says it’s play-on when the ball rebounds off the referee to someone from the same side. I never realised that, it’s a new one on me” said Elliott who also reflected on the positives to be taken from the defeat.

“The subs that came on and how they played is a positive for us. At least there was a reaction there, we could easily have folded but we ended on the front foot and playing positive football so we’ll be hoping we can take that into the weekend at Whitby.”

Elliott thought that Matlock earned a good point against Radcliffe. Despite the visitors dominating possession, they needed a last gasp equaliser to deny Matlock all three points.

“A point against a team up there battling alongside ourselves is never a bad point. We could have got all three and it shows how crazy football is that despite not playing well we came ever so close to getting a better result than the one we got.”

It leaves Matlock in ninth spot as they make the trip to the Yorkshire Coast in search of their second league double of the season, Jorome Slew’s goal separating the sides at the Proctor Cars Stadium on the opening day. But Town are only three points off a play-off spot and as alluded to earlier, any side that can find consistency will find themselves right up there.

Whitby are unbeaten in four matches following Tuesday night’s 1-1 home draw with high flying Hyde.

“It’s going to be a tough game but we must go there and try and come home with a win. We watched them last Saturday, they’ve one or two very good players and obviously Jake Day who scored twice last weekend will be looking to put one over us having been here at the start of the season. It’s never easy there but we’re looking forward to it.”

Team selection could be interesting especially after the substitutes made an impact against Buxton. One of those was Serbian Saul Milovanovic whose international clearance came through on Monday after playing with Miramar Rangers in New Zealand. The 22 year old defensive midfielder played for the whole of the second half and had an encouraging debut.

He is one of two additions in the past week, joining striker Eddie Church on loan from Bradford (Park Avenue) who scored Matlock’s opener on debut against Radcliffe.

Brad Abbott hit the other goal but suffered an ankle injury in midweek and along with Jordan Barnett (mouth) may need to be checked over before Saturday.

The game at Whitby will now kick off at 1 pm in light of England’s World Cup quarter final with France at 7 pm to give Matlock players officials and fans time to return home to watch the international on TV.

Ian Richardson