More tough tests await league leaders Matlock Town

Two more tough games await league leaders Matlock Town over the next week (writes Ian Richardson)

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:28 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:28 am
Matlock boss Paul Phillips expects more tough challenges as his team seeks to maintain top spot.

The Gladiators head to Witton Albion on Saturday before taking on Scarborough at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night.

Manager Paul Phillips is expecting two tough matches but says “let’s get Witton over first before talking about Scarborough.”

The Gladiators were 9-0 winners when Witton visited the Proctor Cars Stadium in September but Phillips says that is in the past.

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He said: “Witton are fighting for their lives, I watched them on Saturday and they’ll give us a hard game. That 9-0 counts for nothing, in fact they’ll probably be doubly determined to get the right result on Saturday after that defeat at our place.”

Phillips will no doubt tell his players, not for the first time, that there are no easy games in the league. He watched Buxton demolish Scarborough 5-1 before Christmas but the Seadogs turned the tables on Tuesday winning the return fixture on the Yorkshire coast.

This weekend’s other NPL Premier Division games include Buxton hosting Warrington, South Shields at home to Radcliffe, Bamber Bridge hosting FC United of Manchester and Whitby taking on Atherton Colleries also at home. Then on Tuesday South Shields are at Ashton United.

As well as Matlock’s home game with Ashton l ast weekend, the Bamber Bridge v Buxton game and South Shields’ visit to Mickleover were also off while play-off chasing Warrington Town’s visit to FC United of Manchester suffered the same fate.

Play- off contenders Whitby Town lost ground with a surprise 3-0 home defeat to Lancaster City. Then on Tuesday Buxton lost for a fourth successive league game, 2-1 at Scarborough, but Bamber Bridge won 3-2 at Radcliffe.

All this adds up to Matlock having a two point lead over second-placed Bamber Bridge with a two- match advantage, while Buxton slip four points behind Matlock having played a game more. South Shields are in fourth, five points behind Matlock, with a game in hand.