Matlock Town’s 3-0 home defeat by in form and promotion chasing Curzon Ashton, coupled with results elsewhere working against the Gladiators, sees Mark Hume’s men still embroiled in a desperate battle to beat the drop.

Matlock handed Curzon all three of their goals on a plate and left Hume feeling the worst since he took over the managerial hot seat at the Autoworld Arena in January.

“Saturday was the most gutted I’ve felt at Matlock” Hume admitted. “we killed ourselves, there’s no excuses, our mistakes were so poor, it was unbelievable by my standards. I was just an average centre half in non league football but I didn’t make mistakes like that. All we had to do was the simple things like clearing the ball. We’ve got to make sides work for their goals, on Saturday it was far too easy for Curzon. Since I’ve been here no-one has cut us open, we’ve gifted sides a lot of the goals from free kicks, set pieces or from mistakes. Everyone can see that.”

Any pre match plans Hume had instigated were blown away inside eighteen seconds when Curzon went ahead.

“After twenty seconds we were on the back foot so what we had planned went out of the window. We’ve some young lads here, and believe me, I’m all for having young players but I think we need a couple of players with that bit of experience, not old ex professionals but around 27 or 28 years old who knows the game and what it takes to be successful at this level., I have so much belief in the players we have for we have good players here and that makes it hurt all the more. We need to cut out the errors sand take our chances, then we’ll be fine. I couldn’t fault the general performance in the first half but I’m not down for losing, I’d rather play rubbish and win, if we can play good football as well, all the better.”

So after a fantastic February when Town won all five of their league games and maintained a 100 per cent record with a victory at Glossop to reach the Derbyshire Senior Cup Final, March has been a more sobering month with just four points gleaned from six league outings.

A tough Easter programme is on the horizon with a trip to seventh placed Barwell on Saturday before ninth placed Buxton are at the Autoworld Arena on Easter Monday afternoon for a tasty derby. Hume and his managerial team of Grant Black and Scott Maxfield are all former Bucks while the visitors should include former Matlock striker Shaun Tuton.

“I didn’t get carried away when we won those five in the league on the bounce for I had an inkling we wouldn’t carry that winning run on in the same way when I saw the fixtures we had coming but I did expect a few more points. No doubt about it we should have won at Whitby and got a point from the Workington and Ashton games” Hume continued.

“But it’s still in our hands, I’ve got a lot of belief in the lads and I know they can do it.”

Transfer deadline day in the Evo-Stik League saw just one addition to Hume’s squad with 27 years old former Sheffield United midfielder Nicky Travis arriving from NCEL Premier outfit Handsworth Parramore.

“We’ve had our eye on him for a while, Scott Maxfield knows him quite well having been with him at Handsworth. He’s my type of player, he can get about the field, works hard and has something about him. He hasn’t played for six weeks so needs to come up to speed with this league but he gives us extra options.”

The loudest cheer of the day last Saturday was probably when Adam Yates appeared as a 71st minute substitute after recovering from his finger injury. Yates suffered a hamstring injury when Hume arrived at Matlock and then the consistently good form of Muhammed Sabo and Julian Banton kept him watching from the sidelines.

“Yatesy’s been unlucky” Hume conceded. “It was touch and go on Saturday whether to start him, he’d only had the stitches out of his finger two days earlier, if the wound had opened up again, we’d have been back at square one. He needed some game time though and with the game as it was it was the right time for him.”

Hume should have a fully fit squad for the Easter programme.

“Grant Black had a tight achilles, so he went to watch a player we’re looking at for next season. Grant’s and Scott’s opinion means a lot to me, we meet up and chat to identify the players we need, we bounce ideas off each other, we all like to be singing from the same hymn sheet. It’s important now we’re identifying targets for next year so we can hit the ground running.”

Ian Richardson

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