Craig Hopkins and fellow joint boss Glenn Kirkwood were thrilled with Matlock’s response in their 3-0 league victory at Halesowen on Tuesday night just three days after their unlucky FA Cup defeat to Altrincham last weekend.
Kirkwood admitted to feeling like “it was the end of the world” on Saturday evening but any thoughts that the management and players would be feeling sorry for themselves were quickly dispelled at The Grove where a Marcus Dinanga brace and a late third from Marc Newsham, all in the second half, saw the Gladiators pick up maximum points and score three times in two successive away matches.
“The result was so disappointing on Saturday but not the effort everyone put in, our lads gave everything” said Hopkins.
“The difference was in the quality of the finishing. On the day we couldn’t stick the ball in the back of the net but there was no lack of effort from all our boys”
Hopkins added that he could sense a good reaction at Halesowen from the Matlock players to Saturday’s defeat.
“We could still see the disappointment the lads felt about Saturday, it hurts, we all wanted it so much, but these lads have character and were bursting to get the three points at Halesowen. It was a fantastic performance given the travelling and traffic in rush hour not making it an easy place to get to. Some of the lads didn”t arrive until 7 pm, perhaps explaining why we were on the receiving end early on. But when we settled into it we looked organised, we worked very hard and then showed quality in front of goal. Marcus (Dinanga) got two great goals, he couldn’t have struck his second one better before showing great presence of mind for the third one when he might easily have got his hat-trick, passing across to Curtis (Morrison) and then Marc Newsham to apply the finish. The lads are buzzing.”
Matlock are on their travels again at the weekend with a trip to Marine.
“We;ll go there and give it all we’ve got” vowed Hopkins.” We know they’re a good side particularly on their home patch, we know to expect a physical game but we’re looking for the three points once again. We’ll always create chances by the way we play as three goals in each of our last two away league games shows.”
The Gladiators await news on defender Dwayne Wiley’s fitness after picking up a knee injury which forced him off at Altrincham. Ted Cribley should return to the squad after a sickness and diahorrea bug.
Meanwhile Laurie Wilson has left the club.
Top notch defensive displays have become the norm with Adam Yates over the years and he produced another defensive master class as he celebrated his 350th competitive Matlock Town appearance with a clean sheet and a victory as the Gladiators saw off Halesowen by a 3-0 margin at The Grove on Tuesday night.
Yates is still only 27 years old and assuming he remains injury free, has a great chance of overhauling former legends Mick Fenoughty and James Lukic who both have well in excess of 600 appearances in Matlock colours.
The Chesterfield based defender made an instant impression on the manager who signed him and the supporters having moved to Matlock from Shirebrook Town in March 2009. Yates played a starring role for Shirebrook in a narrow 1-0 Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final defeat at Causeway Lane and then Matlock manager Mark Atkins wasted no time in snapping him up.
“I owe a lot to Mark Atkins who showed and kept great faith in me and playing alongside James Lukic was fantastic. I’ve learned everything off him and although I’m a different kind of player as I get older I can see myself having his traits as I grow into the captain’s role now” said Yates.
Yates has twice been named as the Supporters Player Of the Year and says he is surprised with how things have turned out.
“When I signed I never believed I would go on to reach the 350 appearance mark. I didn’t think I would even break into the side but things have turned out brilliant for me, Tonight (Halesowen) though was just another game, I wanted to concentrate on getting the victory and playing well, I’m just one member of a great squad we have here. It’s more important that the team does well for our fans who have been brilliant to me and the team over the years and continue to be so. I was really disappointed with the Altrincham result on Saturday, I really thought it would be our day, we had a lot of chances but the ball wouldn’t drop for us.”
His best memory revolves around the two FA Trophy ties with Mansfield Town in 2012/13 when the Stags, who later in the campaign won the Conference National title to be promoted back to the Football League, were beaten after a replay at Matlock.
“The two games were both memorable, exciting to play in and we were over the moon when we won.”
So Yates only needs around another 300 Matlock games to get past Lukic.
“I’m not sure I have it in the legs” said Yates, although most Matlock fans would beg to differ.” But you have to take your hat off to Luky, he was not only a tremendous defender but a great skipper who played and led by example.”
The last comment goes to current joint boss Glenn Kirkwood.
“Yatesy’s tremendous, he plays to the same high standard, week in, week out, and we’re really glad we have him here at Matlock.”
Matlock joint bosses Craig Hopkins and Glenn Kirkwood praised the club;s fans again this week.
Around 150 made the trip to Altrincham last weekend for their FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round defeat and the Gladiators were backed by a small number of supporters in Tuesday night’s 3-0 league win at Halesowen.
“The fans were unbelievable on Saturday the noise they made was tremendous and they really made an impression on everyone. We’re only sorry we couldn’t give them the result, we, they and everyone at the club wanted but it wasn’t for the lack of trying” said Hopkins.
“Then on Tuesday after people had been at work all day, fans went down to Halesowen which isn’t an easy trip in the heavy traffic on a cold night and were there right behind us. We thank each and every one of them that went on Saturday, Tuesday or both, we’ve both said it, this is a tremendous club, the best one we’ve worked for, who have fantastic fans and we look forward to their continued backing in the future It;s really appreciated by all the staff and players.”
Transport is operating to Marine on Saturday leaving the DCJ Group Insurance Arena at 10.30 am. Ring Tom Wright on 07850 065968 to book your seat.