Matlock Town boss can't wait for competitive football

Matlock boss Paul Phillips admits he can’t wait for the season to finally get started.

Sunday, 1st August 2021, 6:04 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st August 2021, 6:04 pm
Matlock Town manager Paul Phillips believes his side will hit a different level when competitive football returns.

The Gladiators chief watched his side defeat Sheffield FC 3-1 on Saturday but says it’s now time to get on with the real stuff.

“There's only so much sparring you can do, like a boxer, before it gets repetitive and you need the competitive stuff to start.

“We now need to be playing for something. You will see another level from the players when there is something to play for, that is what we need as players and a club.”

Goals at the very start and very end of the game plus one seven minutes into the second half sealed Matlock’s seventh pre season win out of eight in Dronfield on Saturday.

But it was a performance Phillips felt was a little flat.

“It was good to get the early goal,” he added. “But it seemed to take the wind out of our sales a bit as well as them.

“It was a tight cagey half again. It didn't help losing Alex Wiles (in the warm-up) and Callum Chippendale, that lost us drive in midfield and we were in second gear in the second half.

“Wilesy was precautionary, but it was a big miss and we lost the dimension of moving the ball a lot quicker.

“Chippy felt his groin, but he's been out for 5-6 month and we knew there would be niggles and the injury has to be managed right.

“We have scored three good goals. Ross Hannah was outstanding and the stand out player.

“We are disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet though.

“We have got two weeks and four sessions to work on things now. We haven't had a lot of time to do that and we will do what we can on the training ground.”

The Gladiators got off to the best possible start with a close range strike from Hannah inside the opening thirty seconds,

Matlock were pegged back on the quarter of an hour mark when Marc Newsham slotted home from the spot after sending Paul Cooper the wrong way.

But undeterred Matlock pushed forward again, Hannah teeing up Alex Byrne whose shot was deflected over the bar.

Hughes hit the foot of the post on 41 minutes, before he fired over on the turn.

Matlock were back in front when substitute Jeserun Uchebgulam calmly slotted home beyond the exposed goalkeeper.

But they had substitute goalkeeper Shaun Rowley to thank for preserving their advantage shortly afterwards, pulling off a fine save from Newsham before Sheffield had a goal ruled out for a foul in the build-up.

After another good save from Rowley, Matlock counter attacked swiftly and Hannah sliced wide from the edge of the box.

Byrne forced the home custodian into a tremendous save after Uchebgulam had worried the Sheffield defence, the resulting corner being glanced wide by Hughes.

As Matlock dominated, Byrne drove across the face of the goal and Uchebgulam finished tamely but with the last kick of the game, Uchebgulam netted his second after Hannah’s pass had played him in.