Matlock joint bosses Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins have called for a big crowd to show up at the DCJ Group Arena for Saturday’s final league game of the season against Warrington Town so they and the squad can say thank you to the fans for their backing in the duo’s first season in charge.
Their slim promotion hopes via the play off route were permanently blocked after the 2-1 defeat at Buxton on Easter Monday but it has still been a memorable season with outstanding runs in both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy and a Derbyshire Senior Cup Final to look forward to against Gresley at the Proact Stadium on May 2.
“We want to see people there in their numbers and we’d like them to stay behind for a short time afterwards so we can say thank you to them” said Hopkins.
“The backing we’ve received all season has been spot on and we want to show our appreciation afterwards whether we win lose or draw. We keep on saying that the players are lifted when they hear our crowd get behind us, they really appreciate the support they get from people both at home and those that travel all over the place to back them. It’s a shame we couldn’t get over the line as regards the play offs but the lads have given it their all and when we look back over the season there’s been a lot of positives.”
Kirkwood added “People shouldn’t be disheartened, we’ve come a long way and we want to continue that next year.”
Matlock were second favourites with the bookies for relegation at the start of the season so to be competing for a play off position into the final week of the season is worthy of credit.
Going into the Buxton game, Matlock had won 3-2 at Sutton Coldfield Town on Saturday.
“That was a great three points” said Kirkwood, “particularly on a difficult artificial pitch. Me and Hoppo have been there eight or nine times before and never won but on Saturday we could and should have won by a few more.”
The managerial duo were understandably disappointed to lose at Buxton but were pleased with their team’s performance.
” We tried to forget about league positions” said Kirkwood, ” We had the chance to do the league double over our local rivals, something that’s not been possible for a good few years. We played really well and it was probably our best away performance since Solihull before Christmas. The first goal was a foul on Phil Barnes, the second was from a slip by Yatesy which he would head away ninety nine times out of a hundred, It also sat up really nicely for the centre forward, so it would have been really easy for the lads’ heads to go down. They had two shots and scored twice, but we kept on going and played with heart, tempo desire and purpose. We’ve dominated the game but fair play to Buxton who defended very well and they had to, Our energy levels both on Saturday and Monday were brilliant.”
Hopkins and Kirkwood want to finish the league campaign with a win.
“We’ve just come up short, over forty six games there’s been teams better than us so we need to try and improve on that next season, we need to improve” added Hopkins. “No-one expected us to do as well as we’ve done both in the league and with the cup runs we’ve had, those cup results raised expectations which sometimes doesn’t help but the lads brought that on themselves, they’ve done us proud, they’ve worked tirelessly. The Warrington game is not meaningless, it could be the difference between finishing seventh and tenth and that’s important to us. We’ll be looking to win and then try and win the cup final but we’ll start thinking about that after Saturday.”