Keeper Kennedy takes top honour

Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy

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Goalkeeper Jon Kennedy has capped a fine campaign by being crowned as Matlock Town fans’ player of the season.

Kennedy (34), an England non-league international who joined Matlock from Worksop Town at the beginning of the 2011/12 season, made his 200th Town appearance in the win at Ramsbottom United in the final league match of the season.

His consistently good displays saw him edge out Adam Yates who finished third in the poll and young midfielder Niall McManus, the runner-up, the trophy being handed over at a packed Autoworld Lounge during the club’s annual presentaion evening.

When voting, fans had the opportunity to justify their choice of player who would succeed Yates in the Matlock Mercury-sponsored award.

“The only player top achieve a 100 per cent appearance record for the season, he has made numerous crucial saves which have won us many important points,” said Mick Thorpe.

Phil Williams added: “He has kept us in many a game when needed,” while Alan Alesbrook said: “number one keeper again.”

Kennedy himself was delighted with the award.

He said: “I’ve won players’ player twice which is great to get recognition from your team mates but this is so special and I’m over the moon.

“I love it here at Matlock, the fans make me and the rest of the lads feel really welcome and everyone’s delighted that we gave them something to cheer with the cup final win at Chesterfield.

“The last two or three seasons have been tough, but hopefully we’ll be able to push on next season.

“Great credit must go to the management team who came in and transformed the side. To be safe with a week to go considering the position we were in at Christmas and then to win the cup final 7-0 was magnificent.”

Kennedy received his award from boss Mark Hume who also presented the young player of the year trophy to McManus.

“It proved to be a good night for the former Millwall youngster who is currently studying at Sheffield University. His team mates named him as their top player and he was presented with a watch donated by sponsors C W Sellors (Jewellers).

Danny Holland’s 19 league and cup goals were sufficient for him to collect the Steven Greenhough top goalscorer award for a second successive campaign while Jenny Bagshaw collected the clubperson of the year award in recognition of the many hours work she puts in behind the scenes in the Autoworld Lounge.

The Derbyshire Senior Cup was on view throughout the proceedings alongside the league champions trophy won by the reserves, who along with the Gladiators U19 side were also presented with their awards.

For the reserves, Tom Laister made it a double collecting both the players and managers player of the year trophies while goalkeeper Marco Taaffe, soon off to the United States on a scholarship, won the young player award.

Clubman of the year went to Tom Towndrow while there were special awards presented to manager Mick Bulheller plus officials Pete Brown and Alan Smith.

The U19 awards kicked off the night with Regan Cooper winning the manager’s award and the players’ player trophy went to Oliver Walden. Clubman of the year was Sam Kelly and helpers Bryan and Vanessa Towndrow were recognised for their hard work and support at home games.

The ceremony ended with chief executive Keith Brown commending Hume on an ‘outstanding effort’ in steering Matlock clear of relegation trouble and winning their first trophy in five years.

He said: “Mark has been absolutely tremendous, It’s credit to Mark and his management team that we escaped relegation with the style of football we’ve seen and the people he’s brought in. He’s done a fantastic job so far.”

Meanwhile, preparations for the new campaign are under way both on and off the field.

Hume has been busy working on his squad and he has also arranged a pre-season game at NCEL Premier Division title winners Shaw Lane Aquaforce on Saturday, August 8th, seven days before the first league outing of the new campaign. Further friendlies will be announced soon.

Off the field, fans can vote for the home and away shirt design they want to see Matlock wearing next term via the club website www.matlocktown fc.co.uk and they can also help out with maintenance work at the Autoworld Arena.

Fans are asked to attend the ground between 7pm and 9pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer break. Refreshments will be served to willing helpers.