Matlock boss Mark Atkins paid tribute to last season’s leading scorer Lewis McMahon who was released to join Skrill Conference North table toppers North Ferriby United last Friday.

In an ideal world the Gladiators would have liked to have kept hold of McMahon who scored thirty four goals in sixty six appearances spread over a little under two years at the Reynolds Stadium.

But Atkins admitted that monetary considerations dictated Matlock’s thinking.

“It was a financial decision. We needed to release one of the highly paid players to keep within budget. We’d really liked to have kept Lewis, he’s been a great servant, our top scorer last season. Unfortunately this year he’s been unlucky through suspension and injury and we haven’t seen him at his best.”

Atkins revealed that a loan deal with another club had been organized but added

“Lewis phoned me and said he wanted to sign for another club which was North Ferriby, we agreed and we wish him all the best.”

Mark Atkins was full of praise for his players after their comfortable 3-1 victory at wet and windy Frickley Athletic last Saturday which stretched their unbeaten sequence to five matches, four of which have brought maximum points.

“It was a great result given the tough, horrible conditions with the very strong wind blowing straight down the ground. We talked about getting in front with the elements in our favour. We scored twice and could have had three or four. In the second half we stuck to our task, got an early goal and then kept the ball very well, passing our way out from the back. Everyone worked hard and believe me, they’re the worst conditions to play in.”

Shaun Tuton scored twice before being taken off midway through the second half.

“Shaun’s got lots of energy, he’s very willing and does a lot of good things so we’re delighted for him in getting two goals” Atkins explained. “Having been booked though and then spoken to by the referee we decided to take him off for there was no point in risking a sending off at 3-0 up.”

Matlock host Grantham Town on Saturday just five weeks after the clubs fought out a 1-1 draw at the South Kesteven Stadium when James Ashmore volleyed the Gladiators ahead on the stroke of half time before a Gary King spot kick levelled matters up twelve minutes from the end.

“They’re a big strong side and having played them recently we know what we’re going to get.We’ll need to match that then try and get the ball down and play our football” said Atkins.

“We’re playing well, we’ve been solid defensively and in the last month we’ve been taking enough chances to see us home. It’s a matter now of taking one game at a time and seeing where it takes us.”

Atkins has no new injury worries in what he admits is a small squad.

“I’ve no immediate plans to bring anyone in for the lads are doing well at present but we do have one or two irons in the fire should injuries strike” he added.

IAN RICHARDSON

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