Relief and pride were both in the thoughts of Matlock joint bosses Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins’ post match analysis after Matlock ended a winless run at the seventh attempt with a tremendous 2-1 win at play off chasing Farsley Celtic on Tuesday.
The Gladiators went into the clash very much as underdogs, with the hosts only losing one of their previous nine matches (to league leaders Altrincham), and having secured a dominant 3-0 home win over Matlock’s local rivals Buxton at the weekend.
But a brace from striker Harry Limb, on loan from Burnley, sent Matlock back down the M1 with all three points. Now they must look to build on this win as they travel to Stafford Rangers on Saturday before hosting Hednesford Town in the Integro League Cup 3rd Round on Tuesday evening.
“You could feel the relief in the changing room and we felt it too” Hopkins admitted. “The belief has always been there but before the game tonight we sensed it was really there. The lads could be forgiven for being low on confidence after the run we’ve been on, but they’re good players, the problem is they haven’t shown it enough. At Farsley we showed a side that hasn’t been there for ninety minutes all that often this season. We took our chances and beforehand we said we needed to be better in both boxes and we were. Farsley are a good side and would have been favourites going into the game, they’ll be in or around the play-offs come the end of the season.”
Kirkwood was beaming as he added “The lads must enjoy tonight with it being six or seven weeks since we’ve won, they’ve earned it and we’re very proud of them. Hoppo and me will start preparing for Stafford. As we’ve said before, we always take it personally when things don’t go right for we care so much about this club and don’t want to let anyone down. We’re desperate to get winning games again and we did it here by doing the horrible stuff that you have to do away from home. If you don’t defend properly you don’t win.”
Although it was an excellent all round team performance, Limb understandably came in for special praise.
“He scored two great goals, and apart from the goals his workrate was phenomenal and he pressurised people into mistakes. We knew the Mickleover game would help him and he’s been excellent. Eleven men have defended when we haven’t had the ball and that started with Harry. His goals were brilliant finishes, especially the first when he had time to think about it, these can be the most difficult and he’s had one disallowed and we’re not sure the offside decision was the right one.”
Midfielder Michael Williams is added to the squad for the weekend after suspension along with top scorer Shaun Harrad who missed out at Farsley with a sickness bug.
Matlock could face two familiar faces at Stafford with strikers Massiah MacDonald and Tyrell Waite, who had a loan spell with Town earlier this season, expected to feature for Rangers.
Meanwhile two more signings have been announced this week with speedy French winger Chris Marlon Ondong-Mba and defender Joe Massey joining up. Both were on the bench at Farsley, with Ondong-Mba getting his first taste of action in a Matlock shirt as a late substitute for Jamie Jackson.
Both have arrived at Matlock from abroad. Massey, formerly with Chesterfield, has been playing in the Swedish League for Ytterhogdal IK while Ondong-Mba has been in Turkey with Besikduzuspor.
“Joe is a short term signing at present as he has to go back to Sweden” Hopkins explained.
“Chris has been playing in Division Two in Turkey and has looked really good in training but needs to get used to non league football. It’s so different from what he’s used to and he sat and watched in shock the other night. He’s quick and strong though and really good on the ball.”
Hopkins added that more signings are likely on the horizon.
“We’re still working really hard to add to the squad, some more players will be coming in, not just for the short term but with the future in mind.”