the npl

Weekly News - 9/10/19

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Weekly News - 9/10/19

The message from Steve Kittrick to Matlock Town players, officials and fans is “don’t panic”.

The Gladiators boss was speaking after his old club Scarborough Athletic had inflicted a third successive defeat on his Matlock side, a run which after the outstanding win at high flying Whitby Town ten days earlier, never looked on.

Since that 3-0 win at the Turnbull Ground, a 3-1 defeat at Nantwich nine days ago was followed by a solitary goal loss at Lancaster City on Saturday before the Seadogs grabbed just their second win of the campaign by a 2-1 margin at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

Kittrick said it was an” in and out” show at Lancaster as he felt the Dolly Blues showed a greater desire than his side on the day. But after a complete ninety minutes performance at Whitby, Matlock have since failed to reach the heights of that performance.

“It was a complete ninety minute show at Whitby, at Nantwich we played well for around eighty of the ninety minutes, Lancaster we had the odd ten minutes or so but could still have come home with something as it was a stonewall penalty to us near the end which we didn’t get” Kittrick explained.

“I can’t ever remember losing three on the bounce. I can’t put my finger on it except to say there’s been a lack of concentration, we’ve caused our own problems. Bu we have to look at this long term, get three points on Saturday and we’re right back in it.”

Reflecting further on the Scarborough loss Kittrick added

“For long periods I thought we were the better team, especially in the last ten or so minutes of the first half and during the second half. We’d got back to 1-1 but the sending off has killed us, I’ve had a look at it and no way is it a red card. Piteu’s absolutely devastated and the more I think about it, the more it becomes apparent to me that the decision was totally wrong . Piteu’s not that type of lad, it was mistimed but not nasty. The referees got it wrong and not taken into account the lad’s momentum. I think we’ve got grounds for an appeal.”

Matlock’s performance picked up after the interval.

“ Half time came at a bad time for us as we were getting on top. We were a lot better in the second half and up to the sending off only one team looked like winning it. It goes without saying that I desperately wanted to win this game although I want to win every game we play. We still tried to get the win with a man less and our never say die attitude bodes well. We’ll regroup and train again on Thursday, we’ve got to get on with it. It was extremely frustrating, we had enough possession to win the game.”

Matlock is in the middle of a run of three home games in a row with Mickleover Sports in town on a non-league day on Saturday before Warrington visit on Tuesday night.

Sports are currently in the second spot and are probably the league’s surprise package so far this season. They have been a bogey side for Matlock over the years and this year has plenty of experience with former Football League players Pablo Mills, Lee Hughes and Stuart Beavon expected to face the Gladiators on Saturday.

“Mickleover has a lot of old heads who’ll get around the referee so he’ll need to be strong,” said Kittrick.

“Of course we need a result but we’ve got to make our own luck. The important message to everyone, players, officials and fans is not to panic, don’t worry as it’s a long season. Stay loyal to the cause as all the players are. We worked hard to get something on Tuesday. Everyone has to stay positive and we’ll get where we want to be.”

Midfielder Jack Rea picked up a groin injury in midweek and will need to be assessed before the Mickleover clash. But winger Dan Bramall has now completed his three-match ban and may be back in the starting line up.

Youngsters will be at the hub of activities as Matlock Town mark Non-League Day on Saturday with a home meeting with Derbyshire rivals Mickleover Sports at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

It is the first time for a good number of years that the Gladiators have been at home on the designated Non-League Day.

Non-League Day arrives once per season as clubs are encouraged to showpiece the non-league game on a day when the Premiership and Championship clubs, plus a fair number of EFL teams are idle due to international call ups.

Matlock have issued complimentary tickets to local schools to encourage youngsters to bring their parents and relations with them. People with dogs are also being encouraged to bring their pets to the game while there is a children's penalty shoot-out taking place during the interval.

Matlock Town Juniors, Ashover Juniors, Bakewell Town Juniors and Tansley Juniors have all accepted an invitation to provide two of their players to test their shooting skills from the penalty spot against Gladiators goalkeeping coach Steve Shuttleworth. Members of Matlock Town junior sides will be acting as mascots on the day.

“It’s unusual for us to be home on Non-League Day so we’d like to invite particular people that haven’t been before to come down and sample non-league football and see what we have to offer here at Matlock Town” said Chairman Tom Wright.

“We’re particularly pleased to have local youth players taking part in the penalty shoot-out which is great for the youngsters and should provide good half time entertainment. They'll also have a chance to meet our players and management team as will those acting as mascots. Please come down and enjoy what hopefully will be a great day.”

Matlock will also be paying respect to former player and manager Mick Fenoughty who died aged 72 last Thursday. A minute’s silence will be held prior to kick off in tribute to Fenoughty, the Gladiators record appearance maker who played 673 games for Matlock and scored 100 goals. A one club man, his stay at Matlock lasted a little under fifteen years.

Ian Richardson