Mark Hume surveyed his Matlock Town side’s performances in their opening two matches of the new campaign and says “we must look at the positives.”

The Gladiators have collected three points from six, a first day 2-1 win at Frickley Athletic on Saturday being followed by a home loss by the same scoreline to newly promoted and many peoples’ title favourites Salford City on Tuesday night.

Late goals have been the theme of those first two contests, Frickley scoring first through Jameel Ible on 77 minutes in the first match before Micky Harcourt on 86 and substitute Joel Purkiss in the last minute turned the tie around. Then on Tuesday, Purkiss, again from the bench, netted again on 84 minutes to cancel out Gareth Seddon’s opener before in the fourth minute of added time, Salford won as captain Chris Lynch found the target.

“The league’s very tight” said Hume. “We can’t be too disappointed. Nobody can fault the work rate of the lads, particularly against Salford against a side with a big budget. We’ve matched them with ten men and they’ve struggled to beat us.”

The Salford clash was feisty and Hume, probably along with most in the 344 crowd, thought Matlock got the worst of the refereeing decisions.

“Adam’s sending off was very harsh considering the Salford number seven got away with three or four fouls in the first twenty minutes and then the next two” Hume continued.

Hume, an uncompromising old fashioned central defender in his playing days, did not lay all the blame for the Salford defeat at referee Sam Mulhall’s door, despite his obvious anger with the official.

“After we’d equalised we needed to play sensibly and to concede the way we did from a set piece was unforgivable. We’d enough bodies there to deal with it and before then we needed to be switched on and not give them possession, we needed to keep hold of the ball” he continued.

“That’s something we do need to do better, and we need to be more together and not be running around like headless chickens. The first goal came from a counter attack after we’d been too hasty in possession.”

The Town chief was uncommitted as to whether two goal Purkiss would be promoted from the bench to start in Saturday’s home meeting against Whitby Town.

“There’s a case for everyone, we have options” he replied. “Danny Holland’s led the line well so far and Nathan (Forbes-Swindells) has done well when he came on tonight, it’s something I’ll have to mull over ahead of Saturday.”

The win at Frickley was only the Gladiators third opening day victory in the past eleven seasons.

“We missed a lot of chances there after a scrappy start and we need to take chances like those. But we got the win which was good for everyone at the club. We’re well aware that if we don’t take those kind of chances against better sides we’ll come unstuck” said Hume.

Matlock have a clean bill of health ahead of the Whitby test and the trip to Rushall Olympic on Tuesday night, the Walsall side having made a perfect start with two wins out of two.

Ian Richardson

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