Matlock appear to be within sight of the finishing line in their race to beat relegation. Now they have just the finishing straight to negotiate, hoping that the hurdles that lie before them won’t be too challenging.

Tuesday night’s goalless draw made it five points from nine for Mark Hume’s men against play off chasing opposition, following on from an Easter programme which saw them gain a point from another scoreless draw at home to Buxton after an excellent 3-1 win at Barwell.

Now boss Hume shares the sentiment of the Matlock fans in ensuring his side continue with their recent good work and finish the job off.

Safety is not yet certain in one of the tightest and most scary, or exciting, depending on an individual’s viewpoint, relegation battles imaginable.

But as Hume emphasized again, “it’s in our hands, it’s up to us.”

Matlock have two league matches remaining, their final home league game of the season against King’s Lynn Town on Saturday followed by a trip to Ramsbottom United seven days later.

A win on Saturday would virtually rubber stamp their survival, another win at Ramsbottom would make doubly sure. Town have 50 points and are in 17th spot. Marine in third bottom need a near miracle to overhaul Matlock, needing to beat Belper Town at home and Blyth away in their last two matches and hope Matlock are defeated in both of their games.

Already doomed Belper did their local rivals a favour on Tuesday beating Frickley 2-0, leaving the Yorkshiremen two points adrift of Matlock with games at Ramsbottom and at home to Curzon Ashton to come.

Stamford are fourth bottom though and currently in the relegation zone a point behind Frickley. The Daniels travel to leaders FC United of Manchester this weekend before hosting Witton Albion who are in the thick of the relegation fight and have two tough matches, a home date with Blyth and a visit to Asdhton United before the Stamford showdown.

“Other club’s fixtures don’t concern me” insisted Hume. “I want us to carry on the performance levels we showed against Barwell, Buxton and Blyth into our last two matches. It’s what we do that matters. Look at the teams we’ve played in this little unbeaten run, all challenging for the play offs. People questioned whether the team were capable of challenging and beating the higher placed teams during the winning run against teams around us in February. I wondered whether they could as well, and they’ve proved they can.”

Hume said the Blyth draw was “a very good team performance.”

“We fully deserved the point, we had chances to win it, we’ve forced the goalkeeper into some good saves, butb they’ve had chances towards the end. It’s a very difficult place to visit, their crowd turn up the volume and you have to be strong. But now we’re looking quite solid after an iffy couple of games. we stood up very well to their late pressure. Jon Kennedy’s made a couple of top draw saves but earlier we could so easily have been in front.”

Nicky Travis, Niall McManus and Danny Holland all picked up “knocks” at Blyth but Hume expects them all to be fit to take on King’s Lynn. Liam Needham did not travel north, his hamstring in jury being given more time to recover for he will be needed for the Ramsbottom trip when Travis is suspended and for the Derbyshire Senior Cup Final two days later when Travis is ineligible. It may be that Needham will remain on the sidelines against the Linnets who Hume expects will provide his side with a tough assignment.

A victory would take Matlock above King’s Lynn in the table and give them a fourth league double of the season.

“We won there last month but they came off feeling pretty hard done to, so we must be ready for them for they’ll want to right a few wrongs from that match” Hume warned.

Midfielder Ted Cribley’s loan period from Barrow has been extended until April 30 confirming his eligibility for Town for the rest of the campaign including the Senior Cup Final.

Ian Richardson

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