February has been fantastic so far for Matlock Town and manager Mark Hume wants to keep it that way.
After a 3-2 home win against Marine to start the month off a fortnight ago, the Gladiators made it a St Valentine’s Day love-in with a tremendous 1-0 win at league leaders Skelmersdale United , before on Tuesday night, Matlock saw off foot of the table Belper Town 3-1 in a controversial derby at the Autoworld Arena.
Three successive wins is just what the doctor ordered as far as Matlock and their fans are concerned, but Hume, in the mood of Dickensian character Oliver Twist, said “I want more.”
That comment came hot on the heels of the Belper victory. The Nailers finished the game with nine men, joint manager Wayne Hallcro banished from the bench and six more cautions.
“We made hard work of it tonight, we really should have scored six or seven, we have to be more ruthless” said Hume.
“The red cards Belper got were created by our good play but we’ve got to take chances that come our way. Against better sides than Belper we’ll get our backsides bitten if we don’t.”
Matlock made the best possible start as Jonathan Williams was sent off in the 8th minute and the free kick was put away by Otis Khan. Then a minute later a vintage Danny Holland blast had them two goals ahead.
Nailers skipper Phil Watt was dismissed for a second bookable offence five minutes into the second half and a rout looked on.
“Okay it’s not always easy against ten or nine men as the opposition tend to sit behind the ball. Mentally it gets too easy and players start doing things they wouldn’t normally do. But we could have made life a lot easier for ourselves.”
There was still a smile on Hume’s face though as he added
“Don’t get me wrong I’m chuffed with the three wins, but I need more from the players. I’ll keep on demanding more because I know they’ve got more in them, I expect the players to deliver the goods.”
Former Gladiator Jason Stokes unexpectedly halved the lead but within thirty seconds Oscar Radford had restored the two goal lead and from then on Matlock might have really gone to town.
Three days earlier Jamie McDonagh, called up for international duty with Northern Ireland’s under 21 side, scored his first Matlock goal and the decider at Skelmersdale.
“We went there with a game plan with Corey Gregory being a third midfield player to soak any pressure up and to win the second balls and get our wide players in for we knew Skelmersdale had good footballers and I think we did a very good job. There was more pressure on us against Belper because we were expected to win.”
So Matlock head to Marine on Saturday looking for a quick league double, armed with the boost of having risen above Witton Albion and Saturday week’s opponents Nantwich Town, and, out of the relegation zone.
“It’s a case of hoping some lessons have been learned against Belper, we have to keep things tight, create chances, and be ruthless by finishing them off” Hume reiterated.
McDonagh missed the Belper win having returned to Northern Ireland for family reasons which will keep him out of the Marine trip and the Derbyshire Senior Cup semi final at Glossop North End on Tuesday.
But Hume had more good news for Gladiators supporters.
“We have the Sheffield United lads (Julian Banton, Otis Khan, McDonagh) for the foreseeable future which is the rest of the season. We have a fantastic relationship with Sheffield `United and their management team, I’d like to thank them publicly and I’m as pleased as punch with the United lads. It’s great for Jamie on his Northern Ireland call up and Otis has his Pakistan call up so if lads want to progress to international level then come and join Matlock Town” Hume joked.