Wednesday September 22nd 2010
Matlock will travel to the Bill Stokeld Stadium hoping history repeats itself this weekend as they take on Evo Stik League first Divison South Carlton Town in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
Three years ago in a First Qualifying Round tie, the Gladiators returned home with a comfortable 4-2 victory, and Matlock would readily accept another similar result this time around.
Boss Mark Atkins has watched Carlton himself, and also had spies at their 2-0 home league win against Sheffield last weekend. He admits that his side will face a tough tie against their unbeaten opponents, managed by former Matlock full back Les McJannett.
"Carlton deserved to win the replay but they face a different type of battle against us. We know it'll be a tough game as they'll be wanting to prove that they're up to our standard and with them being unbeaten as well, they'll want to keep that run going. From our point of view it'll be the same as in any other game that you've got to win the battle first. It might take 20, 45 or 60 or more minutes before you get the chance to play your football.
Fortunately, we've been good defensively so far this season and we've got the players capable of seeing us progress. We'll need to take our chances when they come along for they're a good, solid, well organised side. All Division One South sides are strong and well organised, but having watched them myself and had them watched again last weekend, hopefully we'll be prepared for them. They've got some good players and some pace down the flanks."
Atkins has also had good news on the injury front, with goalkeeper Adam Sollitt and midfielder Kris Bowler able to return in last weekend's 1-1 home draw with Ashton United. Ross Hannah was also declared fit after being a doubt in midweek. Both Kris Witcombe and Liam King however were ruled out.
It's hoped that both Witcombe and King will be fit for Carlton, though King suffered a setback ahead of the Ashton clash after having his tonsils out nine days earlier. Some scabs developed in the midfielder's throat after the operation, and it was decided not to risk him.
The Ashton result and other scores on Saturday and in midweek resulted in Matlock losing top spot and dropping to fourth after Tuesday night's games.
The Ashton game saw the opening of the Gladiators' new Twigg Stand and changing facilities which were used for the very first time.
A good proportion of Saturday's 362 crowd had a panoramic view of the game from the stand which has brought a positive response from fans on the club's official website.
Chief Executive Keith Brown described the opening as the club's greatest day since Matlock won the FA Trophy at Wembley in 1975.
"These excellent facilities are a fine tribute to all of the hard work put in by so many people over the last ten years" said Brown. "Saturday was a very significant milestone in the history of the club.
The ground has been a constant hive of activity since May with Arlington Projects being the main contractor and Twiggs have completed all of the new stand which will house just short of 300 fans. I've been associated with the club for a good many years and believe me, this is a historic occasion. A dream has become reality. We look back at the old wooden stand constructed by volunteers with extra rooms and second hand buildings added on. We still managed to extend the hand of friendship to all visitors to Matlock even though the building was old and difficult to maintain. Now we have a fine construction which will be complete hopefully by Christmas when we have the new Social Club which with heavy involvement from the old County Club, will give us an excellent base and be available for local organistions and our ever expanding junior set up."
The opening of the stand was conducted by David Allen and Richard Tarbatt, Managing Directors of Twiggs alongside Gladiators Chairman Tom Wright and Mark Atkins.
Mr Brown and club official Jason Beaumont, who has played a leading role in the project, paid tribute to Twiggs and everyone who assisted in the New Stand being built.
"Without Twiggs, it might never have got off the ground" said Mr Brown.
Beaumont added, "We now have a stand and changing facilities to last for a century, with a new clubroom to come. There have been so many positive comments from people who used the facility on Saturday and those at the game. The view from the stand is terrific and it creates a cracking atmosphere that can only help the players on the field. There's adequate space and legroom and the noise generated sounded awesome.
Thank you to everyone who has helped from the fundraisers when we think back to charity football games, golf days, sponsored walks and the like, contractors at work on the ground, Dave Reynolds and Stewart Baker who have put in loads of time and effort and to all of the fans who have been down helping, particularly during the final week in cleaning up so we could have the facility ready for Saturday."
Once the new Social Club has been built, Matlock will be arranging a special game against a senior Premiership or Football League club at the Reynolds Stadium for the official opening of the complete structure. This is scheduled for the early part of 2011.
Matlock were without a fixture midweek as their scheduled trip to Nantwich was postponed due to the Dabbers having a home tie in the Cheshire Senior Cup against Stalybridge though this was abandoned at half time through floodlight failure!
Matlock are at home to Chasetown in the league on Tuesday but if the tie at Carlton finishes level, the replay will take precedence.
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Matlock Town Website