2019 has been barren for Matlock Town so far. Three defeats out of three and no goals scored but with three consecutive home games now due, starting with Scarborough Athletic’s visit on Saturday, boss Dave Frecklington is hoping that the Gladiators can make home advantage count.

Fifth placed Scarborough have returned to form with successive home wins against Hednesford Town and Warrington Town following an unproductive run of their own which brought six defeats in eight matches.

“I’d like to think a game against a side like Scarborough will bring the best out of us. Scarborough had a disappointing set of results before their two wins recently so they’ve had a spell just like we’re having now. Our home record since we came to the club is very good with just two defeats against South Shields and Gainsborough so we want to keep on doing well at home.”

Third placed Nantwich Town and play off chasing Basford United follow Scarborough at the Proctor Cars Stadium on the following two Saturdays as Matlock look to get their season back on track.

Their latest setback came in disappointing fashion last weekend when a Lee Beevers own goal handed hosts Witton Albion victory as Town went down to a second successive single goal defeat away from home.

As in the loss at Lancaster City a week earlier, Matlock dominated the second half but could not find a breakthrough.

“We can pull the goal to pieces as much as we want but it was a poor one to concede, it’s a long time since I’ve seen an own goal like that and it sums up the way things are going for us at the moment. We dominated the second halves in both of our away defeats but have lacked quality in the final third. We’ve had off days with too many straight balls, we’ve not had the periods of sustained play brought about by putting good balls into the box. We really should have had 0-0 draws at the very least at both Lancaster and Witton. On the plus side, we’ve looked a lot more solid defensively with Lancaster’s goal from a penalty and the own goal at Witton. You expect to come under pressure away from home but we’ve dealt with things fairly easily and in all three losses we’ve not been beaten up and have been in the game until the 95th minute.”

Midfielder Greg Tempest will make his home debut on Saturday after signing from Basford United last week. Tempest (25) was a Northern Ireland under 21 international while he was at Notts County and has played for Frecklington previously at Gainsborough Trinity. However it’s not all good news on the playing front as Michael Williams has broken down again after twenty two minutes as a substitute at Witton.

Williams has had shocking luck with injuries this season and the jinx returned when he broke down playing for the reserves in their 7-0 win against Underwood Villa on Tuesday when Jamie Jackson scored four to strengthen his bid for inclusion against Scarborough.

“It looks like a hernia problem for Willo which is really disappointing all round, not least for Willo” Frecklington added. “We haven’t rushed him back and we were hoping to build up his fitness with playing him in the reserve game. At least we had Jamie scoring those goals which will do his confidence a power of good.”

Tempest would have been a target for Frecklington during the summer but he was surprisingly released by Basford along with defender Deon Meikle after a startling 8-3 heavy home defeat to Hyde United.

“Greg’s a good player who offers us natural balance on the left hand side of midfield. He did very well for Basford but needs to blend in with us. Unfortunately he’s joined us in a poor run but he’ll be a big asset for us.”

Transfer listed Jordan Chapell is also back on the injured list and with midfielders Cleveland Taylor and Nathan Whitehead still in the sick bay, Frecklington’s options in the engine room are limited, particularly as Tom Davie has expressed a desire to join a club closer to his Hull home. Matlock had released Boston based Harry Vince last week. Vince has not featured since an ankle injury sustained at Nantwich on November 3 and like Davie, is finding the travelling an issue. Defender Taron Hare has left with Matlock having good defensive cover.

“It was a tough decision to let Taron go but we can’t carry seven defenders. He’s a great lad and was one of the first lads we brought in when we came to the club, he’ll have no problem getting another club” Frecklington said.

Shaun Harrad signed for Basford after leaving Matlock last week.

Meanwhile captain Adam Yates made his 450th appearance for Matlock at Witton and will celebrate ten years with the Gladiators in March. Yates joined Town from Shirebrook Town in March 2009, making his debut as a substitute in a 2-1 home win against FC United of Manchester. He had impressed Matlock manager Mark Atkins in a Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final tie which Matlock won 1-0.

Frecklington was full of praise for Yates,

“It’s a fantastic achievement, he’s an excellent player and has been a great loyal servant in times when loyalty isn’t such a big thing in football. He’s a model of consistency and we hope he’ll be here for many years to come.”

Ian Richardson

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