Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Matlock Town take on Sheffield FC on Tuesday evening as the anticipation hots up for the official start of the delayed 2020/21 football season.
Whilst results are not the be all and end all at this stage, the Gladiators will still have been disappointed with the 2-0 defeat at Trafford in their most recent pre-season friendly and will be looking to restore some confidence with a victory over a team situated one tier below them.
Things are, of course, not quite back to normal as we continue to live in the COVID-19 era. Crowds are now allowed for this level of football but there is a maximum amount of 600 spectators that will be allowed to attend Tuesday night’s match. Strict social distancing guidelines will also be in place for the match at the Proctor Cars Stadium.
Sheffield FC hold a very prestigious accolade in the history of the sport. The club are officially recognised by FIFA as the oldest existing club still playing football in the world. Sheffield FC were formed all the way back in 1857.
The club play one tier below the Gladiators in the NPL Division One South/East division. Sheffield FC were in 13th position in the league before the 2019/20 season was declared null and void.
Sheffield FC play their home games at The Home of Football Stadium which is actually in Dronfield, Derbyshire. The ground can hold up to 2,089 people with a seated capacity of 250. Their manager is Gavin Smith.
Their most recent trophy came in 2010 when the team won the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup. In 1977, Sheffield FC reached the FA Vase final.
Sheffield FC have only won one of their five pre-season friendlies played so far in the run-up to the official start of the 2020/21 season. Having said that, the team hasn’t actually played a pre-season friendly at home yet. In their most recent game on August 22nd, the side drew 3-3 away at Rossington Main.
One to Watch
Forward Sheldon Jordan will be a key player to look out for at the Proctor Cars Stadium. The striker joined Sheffield FC from NPL Premier Division outfit Warrington Town back in January.
Team news is always a bit of a minefield of uncertainty when it comes to pre-season friendlies. Paul Phillips has made a whole host of new signings over the summer and with these games it will be a case of plenty of tinkering and experimenting with the team to see who is deserving of a place in the starting eleven on the opening day of the league campaign.
Two summer signings have actually already departed the Gladiators before even playing a competitive game for the team. Sefton Gonzales looked to be an impressive signing from South Shields but a poor attitude regarding training convinced Paul Phillips very quickly that the side would actually be better off without him and the striker has since joined Ramsbottom United. Despite impressive showings in his first training sessions with the club, Edy Maieco has been released from Matlock Town and has now joined Clitheroe.
Recent pre-season friendlies have also seen the return of two popular players after very long absences from the pitch. Craig King has finally bagged some minutes on the pitch this summer for the first time in over twelve months and may well feature in Tuesday night’s game. It has also only been very recently that the Gladiators has seen the return of goalkeeper Jon Stewart. Stewart has been absent for an extended period of time following a terrible accident where he was electrocuted at work which almost cost him his life.
The last time these two sides met was over four years ago. On July 30th in 2016, Sheffield FC defeated the Gladiators 4-1 in a pre-season friendly at The Home of Football Stadium.
Matlock Town’s Pre-Season Results (So Far)
Wythenshawe Town (A) – 3-1
Brighouse Town (A) - 0-0
Clipstone (A) - 3-0
Wirksworth Ivanhoe (H) - 8-1
Maine Road (H) - 5-1
Trafford (A) - 0-2