It’s been three in and three out at Matlock Town during the last week as joint bosses Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins freshen up their squad in the midst of a winless six game run in league and cup.

The Gladiators’ 2-0 defeat at Mickleover was their third on the bounce when a trio of loanees made their debuts. Full back Jan Yeomans and midfielder Harry Vince came in from Boston United while striker Harry Limb arrived from Burnley.
Leaving the DCJ Group Arena is midfielder Nathan Whitehead who has joined Leek Town for a second time, Nico Degirolamo and Rhys Sharpe.

“We want to thank Nathan, Nico and Rhys for their efforts in their time with us” said Kirkwood. “The Nico one is particularly tough as he’s been with me and Hoppo for the last eight or nine years but he’s found it hard to get in particularly with Adam Yates and Dwayne Wiley there.”

Kirkwood though was pleased with the contributions of Yeomans, Vince and Limb despite the disappointment of defeat against Sports, who he and Hopkins managed before making the switch to Matlock eighteen months ago.

“There were one or two positives from the day, the two lads from Boston were excellent and Harry up top has definitely got something, that ninety minutes will do him the power of good.”

Unfortunately another below par first half display cost the Gladiators dearly.
“ It was the same old story, we left ourselves too much to do as we’ve done a lot this season. We were lucky only to be one goal down at half time, Mickleover played really, really well. Andy Dales is a massive player for them, we knew that but knowing it and actually stopping him isn’t easy. We tried to bring him here when we first came and again last summer but his loyalties are with Mickleover, he should be playing at a far higher level. We needed to start quickly, actually for the first ten minutes or so we were okay but in general we didn’t do the horrible stuff in the first half. Phil Barnes made two or three great saves then we looked like getting back into it after half time, but we switched off and gave an experienced former Football League player with 500 games under his belt a free header from a corner, you simply cannot do that for he’ll punish you. We missed Joe Doyle-Charles who’d had the flu all week, he still wanted to play but he was walking about looking really off it, so there was no way we could have included him, and also Willo (Michael Williams), but you just have to get on with it. Ted Cribley was excellent in the the second half so we’re hoping it’s a sign of better things for him.”

A defiant Kirkwood believes there is no simple remedy other than to keep on working hard.

“We’ve still got lads not playing as well as we know they can, so that’s disappointing. But we’ve got to stick together, roll our sleeves up and keep battling on. We know we can do it when everyone applies themselves properly. We’ve got to learn to shut up shop in the first half, get to half time level or even in front, but in short we’ve got to defend better as a team. We’re looking up rather than down, we take every result personally, but we have to stick to our beliefs. It’s a good dressing room, we’re doing nothing different to last year, but we’re not getting the results.”

Matlock are without a game at the weekend but travel to Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night before hitting the road again on Saturday week when they go to Stafford Rangers. Their next home game is in the Integro League Cup versus Hednesford Town on Tuesday 30 January.

While Matlock remain comfortably clear of the one relegation place this season with a league reorganisation imminent in the summer, they need to halt their bad run as soon as possible. Further arrivals look likely following the departures of Whitehead, Degirolamo and Sharpe.

“We’re continuing to work hard to bring people in, everyone worked overtime last Friday to bring the three lads in. We’re making loads of phone calls and with the best part of a week before the Farsley game, there’ll probably be one or two coming in.”

Ian Richardson

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