By Ryan Batty:
After the Dabbers’ historic FA Cup run came to an abrupt end last weekend, it’s time for Dave Cooke’s men to turn their focus back onto the Evo-Stik Premier Division, as they face a trip to 17th-placed Matlock Town on Saturday.
Matlock Town vs Nantwich Town
Evo-Stik Premier Division
DCJ Group Insurance Arena
Saturday 11th November 2017
Adults – £10
Concessions – £6.50
Students – £5
10-18 year-olds – £3
U10s – Free
Last Time Out:
Despite lengthy spells of possession and an excellent team performance, set-pieces were the bane of Nantwich’s afternoon as they bowed out of the FA Cup with a 5-0 defeat to League Two Stevenage. The Dabbers went behind after fifteen minutes from Matt Godden’s header. Nantwich took the score to half-time and looked like stealing one back, but Jonathan Smith was able to get a brace in the space of five minutes. Godden then completed his hat trick with two further goals for the hosts finished with five, a scoreline that was harsh on Cooke’s men.
Matlock Town sit in 17th position, picking up 24 points from nineteen games. October was not the best of months for Matlock, as they picked up two wins from five games in the league, as well as bowing out of the FA Trophy to Glossop North End. However, Cup dreams are still alive for The Gladiators as they were able to progress in the Intergro Doodson Sports Cup last month, winning on penalties against Carlton Town after a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. The Derbyshire side will be determined to have a better month in November, as they take on Nantwich, Witton, Halesowen and Grantham; three out of four of those games will be played at home.
The Managers – Craig Hopkins and Glenn Kirkwood:
Craig Hopkins is a seasoned veteran at the semi-professional game, having played for the likes of Kings Lynn, Ilkeston, Hednesford and Matlock themselves. The current joint-manager has played at Wembley, but his playing career was cut short by injury.
Glenn Kirkwood also had his career cut short by injury, but played at a similar level to his partner Craig. He played for the likes of Eastwood, Doncaster, Ilkeston, Burton and Matlock.
As managers, the duo took charge of the Matlock reserve side before tasting the life of first-team managers, with a short caretaker stint before the 2008/09 campaign. They spent over three years at Heanor Town winning the Northern Counties East League. The two also saved Mickleover from relegation, before speeding Sports up the league and winning promotion to the Northern Premier Division just two seasons later.
Key Man – Shaun Harrad (Forward):
Shaun began his career at Notts County before spending time at Burton Albion, helping the Brewers gain promotion to the Football League, scoring 21 goals in the promotion season. He then joined Northampton, before time at Bury, Cheltenham and Alfreton later. After his spell with Alfreton, Shaun played at Notts County, Worcester, Wrexham and Torquay. During his career, he has had a prolific scoring record, and on the ball, he is capable of making anything happen.
Our Last Meeting:
The last time we played Matlock, it ended in a goalless draw as the two sides cancelled each other out at the Weaver Stadium in March. On that day only two players started that game who are still with the team at the moment – captain Sam Hall and fellow midfielder Matt Bell. However, Joel Stair and Ryan Brooke were unused substitutes that evening, with Steve Jones making an appearance from the bench.
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