Gladiators earn bye in Trophy after Hinckley fold

Matlock Town will go through to the second qualifying round of the FA Carlsberg Trophy without kicking a ball after scheduled first round opponents Hinckley United were wound up on Monday.

The Calor Gas Southern League Premier Division club were liquidated following a High Court hearing in Birmingham after former chairman Kevin Downes issued legal proceedings against Hinckley claiming that the club still owed him £187,000.

A chilling statement appeared on the Knitters’ unofficial Twitter page shortly after the hearing saying: “At 11.15 am this morning Hinckley United FC ceased to exist. Thanks to all players, fans and followers for your support.”

Gladiators boss Mark Atkins says it was a sad day for non-league football.

“I remember going there with both Harrogate Town and Stalybridge Celtic,” he said.

“They were a good club with a tremendous set-up and it’s horrible when a non league club goes out of business. It just shows what can happen when things go against you and you overspend.

“The Trophy’s a good competition and obviously it means we go through and it gives us the chance to play higher opposition and possibly have a run like we had last year, but we’d obviously prefer to get through by playing the game.”

Matlock will be without a game as all of the other Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division teams will be involved in Trophy ties, with the second qualifying round set for Saturday, November 2.