Play-off heartbreak ends Derbyshire non-league season

This is a photo of Belper Town players warming up.
Belper Town players warming up ahead of a home match against Ashington FC. Credit: Dylan Jones.

As the football season comes to a close, we look at the local clubs within Derbyshire and how their teams have finished after the last day on April 27.

From play-off heartbreak to managerial changes, it has been an eventful end to the season for some of Derbyshire’s biggest non-league teams, including Belper, Matlock and Alfreton Town.

Belper Town

Belper Town’s 2023/24 season ended in a 4-0 defeat to Stockton Town at the Raygar Stadium.

The Nailers finished just short of the play-off spots in 6th position of the Northern Premier League East.

Belper went into their final game unable to earn a play off spot, with Carlton Town being five points ahead with 65 points.

Lee Attenborough’s side struggled against an impressive Stockton team, who were fighting for the league title on the final day.

Stockton’s rampant display was not enough to close the gap on the league winners, Hebburn Town, as they head into the play-offs to try and achieve promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

The Raygar Stadium
The home of Belper Town, the Raygar Stadium.

Local businessman and Belper Town supporter, Jon Quinn, said: “It was a disappointing match against Stockton.

“We’ve been out of the play-off race for a little while now, but Stockton are a good side and we didn’t really cause them enough of a problem on the day.

“I’m sure we will be up there next season if Lee Attenborough stays on as manager and we keep the same base of the team.”

Matlock Town

Matlock Town finished their season strongly with a 5-2 win over Bradford Park Avenue.

Their victory at home on the final day earned them 15th position in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Interim managers, Adam Yates and Mark Atkins, took charge of the Gladiators in their final game of the season, after having replaced previous, Martin Carruthers.

Carruthers left Matlock on March 25 after a run of poor results, taking just four points from a potential 24.

He left his position as manager after handing in his resignation, with club legends Adam Yates and Mark Atkins taking over until the end of the season.

Yates and Atkins secured Matlock’s place in the division, after fears of relegation loomed over the club before their arrival.

The Gladiators end the season strongly, but are still looking for a permanent managerial replacement ahead of the 2024/25 campaign.

Matlock Town fan, George Lloyd, said: “It has been a bit of an up and down season for us.

“But since Yates and Atkins have come in, we’ve looked stronger and more of a threat going forwards.

“I’d like to see them stay on next season, because Yates in particular knows the club inside and out, and I think they can both get the best out of this team.”

Alfreton Town

Alfreton Town ended their 2023/24 campaign 5th in the National League North, achieving a play-off position for the Derbyshire-based club.

A 1-0 win away to Scarborough on the final day of the season cemented their place in the play-offs, with the goal coming from defender, Shaun Brisley.

In the semi-final of the play-offs against Boston United, Alfreton lost 5-4 on penalties after the game ended 0-0 at fulltime.

A tight match at the Impact Arena saw Alfreton fall short in their promotion hopes in the most devasting fashion.

2093 fans were in attendance for the crucial fixture, 929 of which were for the visitors, Boston United, who will watch eagerly as their team play Brackley Town in the National League North play-off final on May 4.