Wednesday 20th October 2010
by Ian Richardson
They say you can't keep a good man down... Matlock striker Ross Hannah has certainly proved the point this last week.
After a rather quiet start of six goals in twelve games prior to last Saturday's FA Trophy clash with Bedworth United, Hannah has simply gone goal crazy with a mammoth TEN in two games, remarkably smashing home SEVEN in the 10-0 FA Trophy hammering of the Greenbacks, before hitting a hat-trick as Matlock kept their unbeaten away run going with a 3-2 win at Nantwich on Tuesday night and climbed back up to seventh spot in the Evo-Stik Premier League table.
Club officials and statisticians have had the record books out this week. Hannah's feat of ten goals in two games surely hasn't been beaten, and while his tally of seven in a game has been equalled, by the late Gordon Duggins against Shirebrook back in April 1961, four of Duggins' goals that day were penalties. All of Hannah's came from open play.
The Bedworth result was also Matlock's highest win since a 10-0 Northern Premier League win at Lancaster City on 14 December 1974, although an 11-0 success against British Ropes is believed to be their record win in February 1957.
So Hannah now has sixteen goals in fourteen competitive outings this term and manager Mark Atkins says that his goal rush is a reward for his endeavours throughout the season.
"To be fair to Ross, he'd been working his socks off in games, so now it's a case of that hard work paying off for the lad. To score seven goals in a game and then get a hat-trick in the next one is a really fantastic achievement and we're all delighted for him. Ten goals in two games is mind blowing and naturally we hope he can continue to score goals although he'd be hard pushed to keep that record up!"
The last two results have proved to be the perfect pick-me-up for Matlock after the dismal FA Cup exit to Eastwood Town.
Atkins had done his homework on Bedworth but admitted he needed to offer a few wise words at half time when Matlock held a 2-0 lead.
"To go 2-0 up early on was a great boost. I knew Bedworth would play three at the back so we needed to get down the channels on the outside which we did perfectly for Ross' first two goals." said the manager. "But then we relaxed a bit and got a bit clever when we didn't really need to. We were always in control and never looked like conceding but had we carried on like we did for the two goals then we could have been four or five up at half time, so I was disappointed at that and had a bit of a pop at them at half time. But then everyone did exactly what we asked of them in the second half, we finished with ten and it could have been more but for some excellent saves by the Bedworth keeper."
Tuesday saw the battle of two prolific marksmen, Hannah and Nantwich's Michael Lennon who himself netted four times in the Dabbers' 6-2 FA Trophy win against Prescot Cables. Although Lennon headed Nantwich in front early on, Hannah took the honours again and Matlock gained a first ever league win against Nantwich.
"They're a good side in a false position. No way do they deserve to be second bottom. It's always a good hard strong game against them and Tuesday's was in that category as well. To go down 1-0 was disappointing, the centre halves had already missed two headers and then Lennon scored with another one. But a change in formation to 4-3-3 helped swing things our way, and we then had more energy and quality than they had.
"Ross scored yet another fantastic goal for the equaliser although to be honest I didn't think we were 100% at it in the first half. But I thought we dominated the second half, playing well when we had the ball and also when we didn't. We went 2-1 up only to concede again through another header, but the reaction like it was at Northwich was first class. There was only one place Ross could put it on his right foot and he scored a great goal to win us the game." said Atkins who says the spirit in his squad should be commended.
"It was great for the lads, they're getting their just rewards now for their hard work. People have got to understand what this group of players are doing, the will to win and the fact that they're all in it together, whether selected or not. I'm very pleased with our squad and we now have quality on the bench that perhaps we didn't have last season."
Bogey side Ossett Town visit the Reynolds Stadium on Saturday in a rearranged fixture brought about by scheduled opponents AFC Halifax having a mouth watering home FA Cup clash with Mansfield Town.
Atkins is well aware of Matlock's recent record of just one win and five defeats against the Yorkshire side prior to August's 0-0 draw at Ingfield.
"You know that Ossett will set their stall out to defend and get you on the break, we've got to make sure we break them down and take our chances. We should have beaten them at home last season but didn't because we missed our chances and they scored with the last kick of the game. The last two games have gone now, we must ensure that we're fully on top of our game."
Then it's two away trips for the Gladiators, to face Worksop at Retford United's Cannon Park ground on Wednesday before a long trek to Kendal in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy next weekend.
"Worksop's got some good players at this level and with a new manager being there, it will lift them so it'll be a tough game. But we're unbeaten away and we want that run to continue. As for Kendal in the Trophy, I think it's the worst draw we could have got. It's a long trip and they've been a good side in our division for some time now as we know from previous games against them. But it'll be a matter of going there and getting a result, so hopefully we'll get through" Atkins continued.
Colin Marrison will be added to the squad for the Ossett game having completed his three match discipinary ban, while Atkins reports the added bonus of no injury problems after a great few days for the Gladiators.
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