It has been confirmed today that Matlock Town are still in the FA Trophy after all and their third qualifying round tie against Coalville Town will now take place on Tuesday 3 November.
The news also means that Matlock’s league trip to Atherton Collieries will need to be rearranged for a later date.
When the Gladiators were recently struck by a COVID-19 outbreak, it was initially thought from Matlock Town’s side that they would have no choice but to forfeit their FA Trophy tie at Coalville. It was thought that the rule of only two further days to find time to re-arrange a cup tie after a postponement (like in the earlier FA Cup qualifying rounds) would be applied to the FA Trophy too. With a number of players and members of staff testing positive for Coronavirus at Matlock Town, it was thought that the tie could not be re-arranged in time while also adhering to the current government guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
It turns out that these were not actually the rules regarding postponements for the FA Trophy. A member of the FA got in contact with the Gladiators to clarify that they would actually have up to five days after the originally scheduled FA Trophy tie to re-arrange the game. This means that the Gladiators have just enough time to be able to field a team on Tuesday 3rd November which also fits the government’s pandemic guidelines.
It has also been clarified that these have been the rules regarding postponements (even if it’s not regarding a Covid related reason) all along from the start for the 2020/21 FA Trophy competition.
The rules have seemed to cause confusion with the FA Cup following different guidelines regarding postponements from the start of this season. Recent changes have also been made to the FA Cup guidelines which have further added to the confusion.
The announcement has come to the surprise of many but, after a reminder of the rules, the Gladiators have been given a second bite of the cherry and can compete in the FA Trophy after all.
In further news from the Derbyshire club, it was also confirmed today that Jake Hull’s loan spell with the Gladiators has ended and he has returned to his parent club Rotherham United. Despite only being with Matlock for a short period of time, Hull impressed many with his calm and assured performance at the back in the league clash against Grantham Town. The 18 year-old clearly has a lot of potential and could be a great prospect for the future. Matlock fans will certainly welcome him back if he was to ever return to the Gladiators for another spell while he’s at the start of his career.