Updated: Mar 3, 2020
Matlock Town are finally back in action on Tuesday night as they host Morpeth Town in the Northern Premier Division. The Gladiators will be desperate for three points as two postponed matches in a row have allowed Matlock to slip back into the relegation zone.
With the end of the season now less than two months away, the Gladiators face the worrying prospect of having to potentially fit in twenty matches inside this time frame. This huge fixture congestion means that the Matlock players face a gruelling mission to escape the drop zone and climb up that table.
Morpeth Town currently sit just inside the top half in tenth position but still have plenty to play for with the knowledge that they have games in hand on every single team in the league. With so many chances to pick up points at this crucial time of the season, Morpeth’s chances of reaching the play-offs are still far from over. Morpeth come into Tuesday night’s game in excellent form with five wins from their last six competitive games. In their most recent match, Morpeth defeated bottom of the table Stafford Rangers 2-0 away from home in the league thanks to goals from Liam Henderson and Christopher Reid.
Morpeth Town are known as the Highwaymen and the club were founded in 1909. The team play their home games at Craik Park. The Northumberland side have experienced a lot of success in recent years. Last season they won the Northern Premier League Division One East title (gaining promotion to the Northern Premier Division for this season) and they also lifted the Northumberland Senior Cup for only the second time in their history. The club’s finest moment arguably arrived in 2016 when the Highwaymen won the FA Vase.
One to Watch
Liam Henderson will be a key player to keep an eye on. The striker has finished as the Highwaymen’s top goal scorer for the past two seasons and his robust style of play is a pain for opposition defences to contend with.
Henderson signed for the club from Spennymoor Town and he has scored in two of Morpeth’s last six competitive games.
Paul Phillips has made three new signings who will be available for selection on Tuesday night. Goalkeeper Kyle Trenerry has joined the club from Farsley Celtic, winger Alex Byrne has joined from local rivals Buxton and Adam Kimberley has been signed on a dual registration basis from Clay Cross Town to bolster the team’s midfield. Recent signing Ellis Roberts could potentially make his Gladiators debut too in defence.
The Gladiators still have a fair few injury concerns. Jack Rea could well miss the rest of the season through injury. Jon Stewart is unlikely to return just yet but is making good progress since suffering his work injury. Luke Hinsley is also unlikely to be available for selection but may well make an appearance in Matlock’s training session on Thursday. Spencer Harris should have recovered in time following his operation to treat his broken nose whilst Brian Wilson should also be fit to return.
Long-time absentee Ben Edgson is finally on his way to returning to full-time training but Craig King and Nathan Whitehead will still be out of action for some time.
Elliot Goldthorp has left the Gladiators to return to his parent club Bradford City as he has been offered a trial period with League One outfit Sunderland. Striker Ben Morris has left the Gladiators for more regular first-team football with Barwell. Goalkeeper Jake Greatorex’s one month loan is about to end and he will soon be returning to Barnsley.
This will be the first time ever these two sides have met in a competitive fixture.