As delighted as he was at Matlock Town reaching the Derbyshire Senior Cup Final following their midweek 2-1 win at Glossop North End, boss Mark Hume’s chief aim is Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division survival.
A so far perfect February could be topped off fabulously with another win at home to Nantwich Town on Saturday, the Gladiators having won all of their five league and cup games in the month.
The clash with the Dabbers is yet another six pointer. Their 18th placed visitors only trail Town on goal difference with both clubs having thirty eight points from thirty four matches.
Nantwich, like Matlock have sewn the seeds of recovery after a poor run of form which saw manager Danny Johnson depart the Weaver Stadium and former Dabbers player Phil Parkinson come in. Parkinson’s two games to date have brought home wins against King’s Lynn Town and Halesowen Town.
“It’s another big game and one we’re looking forward to” said Hume. “I think we can approach the game with a good degree of confidence and I want us to get at them and impose ourselves on the game. They’ve done well since their new manager come in but we’re on a very good run and obviously the aim is to continue doing the right things, the things that have brought us this run of victories.”
Hume was delighted with what he saw in last weekend’s 2-0 league win at Marine, who now look as if they need snookers to retain their top flight status. A Danny Holland penalty on the stroke of half time, his 99th goal for the Gladiators and an Otis Khan free kick early in the second half proved decisive.
“It was a very good performance. To be fair Marine had the best of the first thirty minutes or so but we tweaked a few things and we then established a grip on the game and finished the match quite comfortably in the ascendancy. It was very pleasing, a very good, professional performance, just what we’d asked for after the Belper game.”
Hume left five of his starting line up at Marine out of the first eleven he named for the Glossop trip, and was probably glad he did so. Fortunately as far as Matlock are concerned , no-one sustained any serious injury from a physical encounter laced with X certificate challenges from the North West Counties League side.
“The referee was shocking, it has to be said but Glossop have the most arrogant management and players I have ever come across in all my years in the game. They’re from the pop and crisps league, who do they think they are acting like that?” Hume asked.
“But we’re the happier because we got through, the referee should have got a grip on things early on, he didn’t and it gave Glossop the licence to kick and bully. Our players deserve the utmost credit for keeping their cool and not reacting. The ones we left out are fine and will be back in Saturday’s squad. Maybe I took a bit of a risk but I’m sure that if you asked any Matlock supporter, they’d want to be able to stay in this division rather than a cup win. Now we want to do both but first things first. I have every confidence in the rest of my management and the players that we can achieve our aim, I’ve thought that from day one.”
Keen to drum up support during the climax to Matlock’s 2014/15 campaign, Chairman Tom Wright this week revealed details of a special offer open to Gladiators fans.
Matlock have five home games remaining, beginning with this Saturday’s crucial six pointer with Nantwich Town.
A special mini season ticket to cover those matches can be purchased at the turnstiles on Saturday, costing 36 pounds for adults and 22 pounds for concessions.
“Realistically anyone who buys a mini season ticket is getting five games for the price of four which we feel is great value” said Wright. ” It’s vital now we have good support with everyone backing us 100%. Results as we know have improved beyond recognition lately, it’s absolutely vital now we don’t take our foot off the pedal. We have a far better chance of staying in this league than we did a month or so ago, that’s down to Mark Hume and the players, but there’s also more of a buzz about the place, a feel good factor which we want to keep. So I would appeal to local people to come down to the Autoworld Arena to watch your local club, get behind them and be part of the Matlock family.”
After Nantwich, Matlock’s remaining home games are mostly against sides competing for at least a play off position.
Workington (Saturday March 14), Curzon Ashton (Saturday March 28), Buxton (Easter Monday April 6) and King’s Lynn Town (Saturday April 18) are Matlock’s remaining opponents on home soil.