the npl

Weekly News - 9/12/20

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Weekly News - 9/12/20

Matlock Town boss Paul Phillips admitted “I didn’t see this coming” as his side suffered a shock and heavy 5-2 defeat at Coleshill Town on Tuesday night in the Buildbase FA Trophy.

The Gladiators’ usually reliable defence, that had conceded a meagre four league goals in their six games to date, collapsed like a pack of cards and with their normally efficient midfield being outgunned, it meant that Matlock were on the receiving end of a cup upset, Coleshill playing at one level below Matlock in the Southern League Central Division, having made only an average start to the season with nine points from their eight league matches.

The Matlock manager was quick to praise Coleshill.

“There’s no excuses from me, the best team won, for me we couldn’t have played any worse if we’d tried. Individually and collectively we were poor, the tempo of the game was dictated by the home team. We lost too many key battles in key areas. We didn’t start well, which meant we were always chasing the game. We didn’t do all the things we’ve done right this year, we were as solid as a chocolate fireguard! Coleshill wanted it more, they fought more, were more streetwise and took their chances.”

Phillips countered the suggestion that Matlock had been guilty of complacency.

“It was a case of us playing as individuals. We were poor from minute one, Coleshill probably won’t score goals again for a long time that they scored tonight but we gave them the opportunity We weren’t stable at the back, usually we’re hard to beat, but we can’t just put it down to the defence, we didn’t win our headers, second balls, the ball wasn’t held up, they kept coming back at us. It’s criminal how the goals have gone in.”

He added that it is “a missed opportunity” for his side, given the fact that step 3 and 4 clubs voted to suspend league games for at least a fortnight last week due to the continuing Coronavirus issue with large parts of the country being placed in Tier 3 by the Government. The NPL has confirmed that all league games up to and including Saturday 19 December have been postponed, but if the Government alter the present tier restrictions that allows fans to return to all matches, the league will approve the reinstatement of any scheduled games subject to both clubs being in agreement.

“It was a great chance to get some games in, and it would have helped us with our league campaign. The next two rounds are next Tuesday and the following Saturday, we don’t know yet when league games will be back on but say if it’s the 26th, (Buxton away), playing competitive matches would have given us some momentum and helped us going into that game and the ones that follow. I apologise to the fans for this result, I know they couldn’t be here to watch, and I also apologise to the board, for it was a chance to earn more prize money and boost the coffers in these tough times.”

Phillips added he declined to give his players a dressing down, and said he must take his share of criticism..

“You only had to look at their faces in the dressing room afterwards to see they’re hurting, they know they’ve let the fans down, the club down and also themselves down, they’re a different group to what we had here last year. We win as a group, we lose as a group, we’ll be in for training on Thursday and working hard on all the things we’ve not done well. There’s only Ross Hannah that’s put in anything like a performance, I feel sorry for him. I’ve got to take my share of the responsibility as well, this is my team and we’re all hurting. It’s important how we react now, I’m sure there’ll be a response to this. We went to Bamber Bridge and lost the first game of the season and then went on a good unbeaten run, we have to do the same again. We didn’t look like scoring at Bamber but we were solid, at Coleshill we were wide open, so we need to get back to doing the things we did so well.”

As the old saying goes, Matlock can now concentrate on the league, with there being no League and Derbyshire Senior Cup competitions this season.

“We’ve got the one thing to play for now, the League, we’ve got to try and get out of this league, we’re good enough to do that although we can’t afford many more performances like the other night. I’m pretty sure we can’t play like that as individuals again so we’ll be working hard to put that right.”