Wednesday 19th January 2011
by Ian Richardson
Fans shouldn't be surprised to see a couple of changes to the Matlock Town team that takes on Marine at the Reynolds Stadium on Saturday as Mark Atkins' men aim to return to winning ways following a defeat at Chasetown on Tuesday night.
It's not being put down to players doing a lot wrong. Fatigue could be the reason - as Atkins hinted after the trip to Staffordshire that saw the Gladiators winning run come to an end at the fifth time of asking.
"I thought long and hard about making one or two changes before the game," Atkins admitted, "But some players had got stuck in traffic on the way to the game and didn't arrive until ten past seven.
"In the end I kept the same side and in hindsight maybe I should have followed my instinct. Some have played a lot recently, especially after the bug that's been going about. Some have felt unwell during the past week or two. But that isn't an excuse for losing the game.
"It's a disappointing result but not the end of the world. We never really got going, Chasetown played very well and closed us down very effectively. We played too many long balls, especially in the first half, and for some reason didn't seem to have the confidence to play like we can.
"We gave it a right go in the second half, but in my opinion, we didn't really deserve anything. But given recent results, I can't be too critical of the lads. The games were always going to catch up on us".
Matlock would have ended the night in second spot had they got at least a draw, but Ross Hannah's (left) 31st goal of another brilliant season was not enough.
"Ross has been fantastic again this term, what can you say when a lad has got more than thirty goals at this stage of the season?" Atkins demanded. "But it's not just his goals, it's his work rate and determination, his movement is excellent. He's improved no end since I came to the club and all credit to him. He just loves playing for this club, and appreciates the help he gets from his team mates plus the backing from the supporters."
Matlock remain in third spot, just a point behind second placed Colwyn Bay who they visit next weekend. The Gladiators though have three games in hand. If Matlock can better Bay's result at the weekend when the Welsh side travel to Ossett Town, they will rise to the current runners up slot.
However, Atkins knows that Marine are always a tough nut to crack and it's only in the last two years that Matlock have started to get the upper hand over the Mariners in Derbyshire, with 4-0 and 3-0 results.
And if Marine want to maintain their play off challenge they will need their impressive away form this season to continue, having already got seven victories under their belt on their travels.
"It's always a tough game when you play Marine" Atkins warned. "We'll need to be on top of our game to earn the points. The lads know we didn't play well in midweek, now it's a matter of putting that behind us and bouncing back on Saturday."
Last weekend, Matlock's fourth league win on the trot came when fellow play off rivals Worksop were beaten 1-0 thanks to Hannah's 21st minute decider.
"It was a game that neither side wanted to lose given our positions in the table so there was tension and nerves out there. But it was a tremendous result for us" Atkins continued.
"We totally deserved the victory and credit for that goes to the players who simply worked so hard to stop Worksop from playing. When we lost to Worksop earlier in the season their front two players gave us the runaround but that was never going to happen on Saturday.
"We'd stressed to the lads that they needed to stand up to that and the lads did that perfectly. We changed the team slightly and played our most experienced players. We'd got energy in midfield and Adam Sollitt didn't have a save to make in the ninety minutes."
Striker Dene Cropper is to play games for Northern Counties East League First Division side Shirebrook Town to maintain match fitness. Atkins revealed he had received an enquiry from an Evo-Stik League club for Cropper, but the Town supremo emphasised that he is still very much part of his plans and it is an arrangement to benefit both clubs and the player.
"I told their manager that if he wanted him he would need to put in seven days notice of approach. But I've spoken to Dene and he doesn't want to go. Quite simply he needs games to build up his fitness after being ill over Christmas and his knee complaint means that he's unable to train properly on certain surfaces. So the best way to get him fit is for him to play games for Shirebrook when we're not playing.
"That suits both Dene and the club. He played for Shirebrook last Wednesday against Staveley and was due to play again for them this Wednesday. He could then be fully fit and possibly in line for a start, that gives us another option. Maybe one or two lads need a rest, that's why you have a squad."
One player who will be having an enforced rest soon is midfielder Gareth Davies. He will be available on Saturday but then begins a three-match ban after his dismissal against North Ferriby, starting at Stocksbridge on Tuesday night.
The Gladiators have been drawn at home to First Division South table toppers Barwell in the last sixteen of the League Cup with the tie scheduled to take place on Tuesday 1st February.
Sat 22nd January -
Tue 1st February -
MARINE (H) - Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Tue 25th January -
Stocksbridge Park Steels (A) - Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Sat 29th January -
Colwyn Bay (A) - Evo-Stik League Premier Division
BARWELL (H) - Evo-Stik League Challenge Cup.
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Make no bones about it, Matlock need to beat Whitby Town in Saturday's lunchtime kick off (1pm) at the Reynolds Stadium. More...
NEW BLOOD FOR THE GLADIATORS -
Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins has fulfilled his promise to strengthen his Gladiators squad More...
GLADIATORS BATTLE TO HANG ON TO HANNAH -
Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins says that claims from Torquay that the Gulls had signed Gladiators star striker are "premature to say the very least." More...
AND THE WINNER IS... -
A brace of awards have come Matlock Town's way for boss Mark Atkins and the Gladiators new stand being acclaimed as the best new stand of 2011... More...
GLADIATORS FIGHT TO THE FINISH -
A perfect February has given Matlock Town an excellent chance of making the end of season play offs but boss Mark Atkins is taking nothing for granted. More...
ATKINS PLEASED AFTER WEEKEND WIN -
Matlock boss Mark Atkins reckons the 4-0 win at Retford United was a massive result for his side in more ways than one. More...
ATKINS SEEKS NEW BLOOD -
A busy Mark Atkins is trying to strengthen Matlock's squad ahead of a run of 18 league games and at least one, hopefully more, League Cup tie to play before the season's end. More...
MATLOCK TOWN SEEKS INVESTORS -
"A few thousand pounds could make a real difference to the club". That's the message from Matlock Town Football Club. More...
KEEP IT UP -
Having won four out of their last five league matches, Mark Atkins' Matlock Town now find themselves up in third spot, More...
FLU HITS MATLOCK CAMP -
Matlock boss Mark Atkins rose from his sick bed on Monday to orchestrate a vital home win against Burscough, and then was back in it straight after the match. More...
ATKINS, "2010 HAS BEEN A GOOD YEAR" -
...but the Gladiators' fate in 2011 could be decided on how they cope with fixture congestion in what is expected to be a crowded end to the campaign. More...
PROVERBIAL 'SIX POINTER' -
Matlock Town v Buxton on Christmas Monday at the Reynolds Stadium looks to be the proverbial six pointer as the local rivals seek a play off spot More...
GLADIATORS BATTLE ARCTIC CONDITIONS -
Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins fears that his side could face a big fixture backlog as the arctic conditions bit into the Evo-Stik League fixture programme this week. More...
BACK TO WINNING WAYS -
Manager Mark Atkins was pleased and relieved that defensive errors failed to rear up again as Matlock recorded two 3-0 home wins inside a week More...
FIGHT ON -
Without a win in five games, Matlock Town will be desperate to grab maximum points against second placed Colwyn Bay on Saturday. More...
ATKINS: GIVING CHEAP GOALS AWAY MUST STOP -
Matlock boss Mark Atkins says his side must stop giving cheap goals away after their second 2-1 home defeat in four days. More...
MILESTONE APPEARANCE FOR GLADIATORS PLAYER -
There's two very good reasons why Matlock Town will want Saturday's visitors Hucknall Town to feel the backlash More...
GLADIATORS FIGHT BACK AFTER 1st AWAY DEFEAT OF THE SEASON -
Mark Atkins will be looking for his Matlock side to bounce back quickly and positively from their first away defeat of the season against Worksop More...
YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN -
They say you can't keep a good man down... Matlock striker Ross Hannah has certainly proved the point this last week. More...
NEW STAND IN ACTION AT MATLOCK -
It's taken 10 years and a mammoth fundraising effort - but Matlock Town Football Club's new 300-seater stand is now providing a welcome home for supporters. More...
MATLOCK GAFFER BLASTS REFEREE -
Matlock boss Mark Atkins laid the blame for his side's second defeat of the season firmly at the door of Mansfield referee Mark Jones. More...
WILL HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF? -
Matlock will travel to the Bill Stokeld Stadium hoping history repeats itself this weekend as they take on Evo Stik League first Divison South Carlton Town in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. More...
TOP OF THE LEAGUE - Two wins in forty-eight hours placed Matlock Town on top of the league as they embark on their latest FA Cup adventure on Saturday at home to fellow Evo-Stik Premiership side Worksop Town. More...
NO EXCUSES -
Matlock boss Mark Atkins offered no excuses after a disappointing Bank Holiday return of just one point out of six. More...
MORE TO COME -
"I feel there's more to come from us." declared Matlock boss Mark Atkins after his side strengthened their Evo Stik League Premier Division campaign with a 3-0 win against Burcough. More...
RARING TO GO -
"The lads are raring to go" was the message from Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins after a long pre season programme of seven weeks and nine matches. More...
Matlock Town Website