• DerbyshireFootball

Matlock's return is no more as Stalybridge match postponed

Matlock Town's hopes of returning to league action this weekend have been ended after hosts Stalybridge Celtic opted to postpone their fixture at Bower Fold.

The two clubs had initially agreed to play the game after the Northern Premier League gave its members the green light to host matches if desired, something which only a handful of clubs opted to do.

However, having reflected on the impact of doing so, Celtic's chairman Rob Gorski says the decision has now been made to wait a little longer.

In a statement released on Thursday night, he said: "The board wanted to give the gaffer and the players every opportunity to get match fit and so, despite knowing that having only 300 through the gate and no beer or food sales would have resulted in the club losing considerable money, we backed the idea of playing.

"This week, [the NPL] have broken away from the trident (Southern and Isthmian leagues) and reversed a decision that meant that clubs would be playing on Boxing Day and financially losing heavily in the process.

"Then, of course, we would no longer be eligible to furlough our players and all the knock on ramifications.

"So, with regret, we have decided to postpone Saturday's game with Matlock.

“We thank Matlock for their cooperation."

Matlock Town chairman Bryn Apperley, meanwhile, sympathised with Stalybridge's cause.

He said: "While we were keen to play and see some competitive football again, we respect the decision that has been taken. These are strange and difficult times and we must all support and work with one another during this pandemic.”

As things stand, Mickleover FC and Ilkeston Town are the only Derbyshire clubs at steps three and four who have opted to play their games with Radcliffe and Kidsgrove Athletic respectively, while Long Eaton United will play their FA Vase tie with Hanley Town at Grange Park, Gresley will host Haughmond in the MFL Premier Division and numerous other fixtures will take place at steps six and seven of the pyramid.

Matches involving Derby County at Rotherham and the FA Trophy ties between Chesterfield and Brackley and Alfreton and King's Lynn will be played as planned.