Matlock Town boss delighted to see his side return to action
Matlock Town manager Paul Phillips, although not in charge for Monday night’s 9-0 Wirksworth Centenary Cup win over Wirksworth Ivanhoe, said it was good to be back on the field again.
It was December 8 since Matlock’s last competitive game and their last competitive fixture at the Proctor Cars Stadium was way back on 10 October against Ashton United.
Gladiators fan Dave Apperley had bid to be in charge of the side leaving Phillips and his management team to look on.
“It was a game we needed after such a long time not playing, we were good in spells although all of the substitutions made things a bit disorientated,” said Phillips.
“It was good for the lads to get minutes in their legs and get their timing right.”
Apperley enjoyed his ninety minutes running the show and was full of praise for the squad Phillips is putting together.
He said: “They’re a very good set of lads, I enjoyed myself immensely, all of the staff and the players were excellent, it was a really good night. ”
As well as Ivanhoe celebrating their centenary, it was Matlock Town legend Adam Yates’ final appearance after 12 seasons and more than 500 appearances for the Gladiators.
“It was a great night with Wirksworth celebrating their centenary and of course Adam Yates, captain on the night, getting such a fantastic reception from everyone which he fully deserves”, Phillips continued.
“It was also nice to see people watching football again, enjoying themselves and then being able to mix in the bar as regulations at the moment allow us to.”
On the pitch Matlock matched the number of goals they scored in the corresponding game in 2020 when Ivanhoe managed one in reply.
New signings Alex Wiles, John Pritchard, Jonathan Wafula and Jesurun Ubechegulam all featured. Callum Chippendale was also due to start but pulled up in the warm -up although the diagnosis does not appear to be serious.
“We’ve no injuries from tonight, Chippy (Chippendale) wasn’t risked as a precaution after he said he felt a bit tight. I thought we looked fit, had a good intensity, the lads have looked after themselves which is testament to their commitment.”
Matlock now face two more home friendlies in the next week, with Boston United the visitors on Friday evening before Derby County under 23’s are in town on Tuesday night.
Phillips added: “It’ll be a different test on Friday and a game we’ll need. It’ll be a big physical test against a side in the league above who are expected to do well and have signed some very good players and have very good management and staff.
"I’d imagine that with our seasons starting on the same day, Boston will be at the same stage as us.”
Ryan Qualter and Jonathan Wafula will be facing one of their old clubs while Boston could include midfielder Jore Leesley who was popular with Matlock supporters in his time with the Gladiators under the stewardship of Mark Atkins.