Manager Dave Frecklington heaped praise on his players after collecting seven points out of a possible nine in a little over a week to move out of the relegation places in the EvoStik NPL Premier Division.

Matlock built on their crucial 5-2 win at North Ferriby last week to draw 0-0 at home to Hyde United on Saturday before they overcame Marine 3-1 at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Tuesday night.

With a daunting trip to second in the table Warrington Town, who have only conceded three goals in their eleven league matches so far, on Saturday, followed by a tricky derby at Mickleover Sports to follow on Tuesday, it was particularly important that Matlock picked up the lion’s share of the points on offer.

“Before we went out against North Ferriby we said we had three massive games and it was important not to lose and drop points” said Frecklington.

“The boys have put in unbelievable effort and commitment for a new team in what have been big games for the football club. To get the results they have , with a five goals difference is fantastic and is a credit to every single one of them.”

Matlock dominated long spells of the game against Hyde but could not find a breakthrough.

“I was pleased with the performance but disappointed with the result. We did more than enough to win but if you can’t win it it’s important you don’t lose it. We’re starting to understand how to stop the goals going in at the other end. It was a scrappy performance against Marine, but I’d take that every week if we were to win 3-1. We weren’t as fluid, we were bitty and loose in possession but two weeks ago we’d have lost that game. Lee Beevers marshalled the back four really well, he showed his quality. Marcus Marshall is frightening and just about unplayable at the moment. He’s scored twice, been brought down for the penalty and should probably have had a deserved hat-trick. His confidence is sky high and his partnership with Craig Westcarr is one of the best in the league, they play off one another and have a really good understanding.”

Frecklington acknowledges Matlock have a difficult assignment at Cantilever Park, having never beaten Warrington in six previous league and cup attempts. They also have a miserable record at Mickleover, the Derby club having won on every time Matlock have visited the Don Amott Arena for a league and cup game while Sports have been in the NPL Premier Division.

” Warrington will be tough but we’ve scored ten in four games and in the last three we’ve conceded three instead of three every game so things are getting better. If anything it’s a free hit for us, nobody expects us to go there and get anything, but, I wouldn’t write us off. I didn’t realise that record we have at Mickleover so it’s high time we changed that” Frecklington added.

Matlock still have key personnel out injured although defender Dwayne Wiley was fit enough to take a place on the substitutes bench against Marine after picking up a thigh abductor injury at North Ferriby. Michael Williams (abductor) and Shaun Harrad (cracked fibula) are two and four weeks respectively from a return while Jordan Chapell broke down in the warm up against Hyde. Defender Taron Hare came off against Hyde and will be missing for six weeks with ligament damage in his shoulder.

Gladiators fans have also received glowing praise from Frecklington. An encouraging 448 watched the Hyde match and 310 turned out in midweek when attendances tend to be lower than at weekends.

“Terry (Fleming), Chris (Rawlinson), myself and the players all thank the fans for their support. They’ve been here in decent numbers, they’ve got behind the team, they’ve cheered the players on and given us a rousing reception tonight (Tuesday) when we left the field. The lads are giving absolutely everything to the cause, everyone is pulling in the same direction, there’s a togetherness with the fans playing their part which can only be good for the club.”

Matlock will travel to Basford United in the 2nd Round of the Integro NPL Cup on Monday October 29. Their Derbyshire Senior Cup 2nd Round home clash with Shirebrook Town is on Tuesday 6 November while their outstanding home league meeting with Bamber Bridge, postponed on August 25 due to Brig’s involvement in the FA Cup, has been rearranged for Tuesday November 27.

Ian Richardson

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