Danny Holland reflected modestly on the long midweek coach journey back from King’s Lynn on Tuesday after netting his 100th goal for Matlock Town.

Thirty years old Holland, Matlock’s skipper, actually made it 101 with an 83rd minute penalty after his 79th minute strike had put Matlock in front at The Walks.

Asked how he felt he replied “tired and old” but the reassurance came as he added “I’m still enjoying it. But really reaching the 100 goals mark does not matter as much as the team winning games. It’s a good achievement to say how many seasons I’ve been here and it’s always nice to score.”

Holland came back for a second spell when Mark Atkins signed him from Bradford Park Avenue in the summer of 2013, his first spell lasting three seasons before leaving when Ernie Moss quit Matlock to manage Hucknall Town in the summer of 2004.

Holland has now made 181 appearances for the Gladiators and struggled to recall a favourite goal.

“To be honest I can’t remember all the goals I’ve scored but it is nice to score 100 for a club. I thought I’d do it for Harrogate Town but they sold me when I was on 99 and I didn’t want to have 99 goals for two clubs.”

Holland appears to have a new lease of life under new manager Mark Hume who has masterminded a Matlock recovery which has seen them win six out of their last seven league and cup matches.

“I’ve known the gaffer for quite a while, I’d played with him at both Harrogate and Eastwood Town and his philosophy fits the same picture as mine” Holland continued.

“He’s done very well here and the gaffer, along with Scott Maxfield and Grant Black all have the same mindset. The players are all positive and feel they won’t lose and that comes from the top. He’ll tell you when you’ve done something well but also he’s not afraid to give someone a telling off, the lads respect that. He knows what it takes to win games, and that means getting the basics right, so decision making’s easier and that we play our football in the right areas. Sometimes you have to play an ugly game to win, but also we have the lads here who can play a more expansive game.”

The respect between captain and manager is mutual.

“Congratulations to Danny on his 100th goal, it’s a massive achievement” said Hume.

It’s a big bonus for me having Danny at the club for he’s a tremendous influence on the younger players. As long as I’m here at Matlock, there’ll always be some role for him.”

Hume was pleased with the 3-1 victory in Norfolk after Rushall halted Matlock’s winning sequence beating the Gladiators 1-0 in the West Midlands last weekend.

“It was a good response at King’s Lynn. We were disappointed to go 1-0 down, it was slack from us although give the lad credit, it was a good header. But we do need to do better in those areas. They went down to ten men but we’d still been causing them problems before then. Their goal was out of the blue but we played really well against the ten men when sometimes teams with the extra man can struggle. Maxi, Grant and me knew how we wanted to set up and we made the extra man count.”

Promotion chasing Workington visit the Autoworld Arena on Saturday and will present a tough test of Matlock’s improved form. The Reds lie in fifth spot, six points behind leaders FC United of Manchester, and they will still harbour hopes of a title challenge.

“It’ll be tough but King’s Lynn with the awkward journey on a Tuesday night was also tough. But we’ll aim to continue doing the right things and I think the fans appreciate what we’re trying to do. That was evident on Tuesday from those that went to King’s Lynn and cheered the lads on, we all very much appreciate their support.”

Oscar Radford came off with a slight knock on Tuesday but is expected to be fit to face the Reds.

The Gladiators have another six pointer on Wednesday against Whitby Town at the Turnbull Ground. Fourteenth placed Matlock have a two points advantage over the Seasiders but have played two games more. Tuesday’s win saw them leapfrog King’s Lynn on goal difference, the Norfolk side having played one match fewer.

Ian Richardson

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