NPL leaders want to finish the job

Matlock Town manager Paul Phillips is targeting promotion as they enter 2022 top of the Northern Premier League.

The Gladiators defeated local rivals Buxton 2-1 on Monday to ensure they finished the year top of the pile.

And he is looking at the title or at least winning the play-offs.

Phillips said: "We've got to look at achieving something, we had a good run in the FA Trophy, the FA Cup the least said the better, we let everyone down.

“So we've got the league to concentrate on now and we want to put together a good run of wins to stay up there.I'd like to wish our fans a very happy new year and we'd like to make it one for them.

"We're going to enjoy Monday's win but it doesn't define anything in terms of winning anything. This is one of a number of tricky games we face in January, we got a good derby win but we don't want to blow it all away.

"We know we're there to be shot at but that's credit to the lads, when you look at the massive financial backing that South Shields and Buxton get, also Warrington, there's only Bamber Bridge of the other sides up there who don't get massively backed and Milly (Jamie Milligan)'s doing a tremendous job there.

"It's to the boys' credit that we're well in there with a shout, people would have thought me raving mad a few months ago if I'd said we'd be top of the table at Christmas."

A huge crowd of 2,155 watched goals from Ross Hannah and Reece Kendall fire Matlock to victory - their biggest league attendance since 1977.

He added: "It's a credit to both clubs whose fans exchanged friendly banter, lots of noise and a fantastic atmosphere and I don't think there was any trouble at the game.

“I was glad we could put a spectacle on to respect that. These were two good teams.

“Listen you can dress it up how you want but in the last few years Matlock have been struggling down the wrong end of the table but this year we're up at the top.

“It's a different pressure from relegation but one we should all want more of."

Where next?

Postponements on New Year's Day weekend A handful of games over the weekend have been postponed.
Bumper crowds for final games of 2021 Crowds flocked to the Northern Premier League on the final day of action in 2021.

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