Matlock made it three wins from their last four games when they beat out of form Hyde United at the Autoworld Arena in their first game of the new year last weekend, but boss Mark Hume was not impressed with his side’s overall performance.

Hyde, without a league win since October 26, made much the better start and were in front inside seven minutes before a 44th minute equaliser from Laurie Wilson and a bizarre 77th minute clincher from Niall McManus earned the Gladiators maximum points.

“I don’t think we could have been worse in the first half, we were poor, not at the races” said Hume.” There’s no excuses, the three weeks off doesn’t come into it, we were soft, we were sloppy so I had to make changes at half time to toughen us up. Against a more physical side we’d have been really struggling.”

Hume left all three of his new signings, Andy Gascoigne, Tom Burgin and Jake Orrell on the bench but all figured as the contest developed with Gascoigne and Burgin playing key roles.

Quick thinking by Gascoigne led to the winner, his long range lob bounced down off the crossbar and fell to McManus to poke home, while Burgin was brought on at the interval in a tactical switch by Hume who pushed Laurie Wilson further forward.

“We brought Tom on to beef us up at the back and Laurie went into midfield to give us more bite and control in there. I told the lads I wasn’t happy at half time, getting to half time at 1-1 didn’t cloud my judgement, yes we’d had chances but we needed to do a whole lot more, hopefully the lads will have learned something from Saturday. I know we’ve played ten times better and come away with nothing so winning the game was a positive I suppose.”

Hume was pleased with the contributions of Gascoigne, Burgin and Orrell.

“The deal for Tom (signed from Bradford Park Avenue) had been going on for three weeks and I’m pleased we eventually got him. He’s a big lad with a physical presence and we hadn’t got a centre half like him. He does the simple things, he’ll head and kick it all day and leave the other things to the likes of Adam (Yates) and Laurie. Andy did well considering he was battling to get his match fitness back and for Jake (on loan from Chesterfield) it was a difficult game to come into, it was scrappy but his energy was great for us towards the end so we could grind out the win.”

Matlock have potentially one of their most difficult tests of the season on Saturday at promotion chasing Ashton United who had won eleven, drawn one and lost only one of their previous thirteen league matches prior to their trip to Whitby Town on Wednesday night.

“They’re a very good side, strong and well organised and one thing’s for sure we can’t afford to play like we did against Hyde” Hume added. “Everyone’s got to be on top of their game, even if we’d won 5-0 last Saturday it wouldn’t change the way I feel we’ve got to perform this weekend.”

Town. return home on Tuesday to take on Grantham. “We’ve got to keep knocking on the door at home and make it a place where opposing sides don’t fancy coming to” said Hume. “We controlled the game over there, led for a good part of the match and lost it in the last few minutes which was very frustrating, so we’ll be wanting a good result this time.”

Striker Jack Siddall has moved temporarily to NCEL Premier Division Armthorpe Welfare for some regular first team football which Hume says will help his development.

Meanwhile there was no room in the squad for either Jason Paling or Alex Peterson against Hyde.

“Neither Jason or Alex have done anything wrong and I feel really sorry for them but I can only name five on the bench but I know that if they were needed they’d do a great job for us. Alex has been particularly unfortunate, I feel so sorry for him, our strikers have been doing quite well and games have been called off which hasn’t helped him, the match he did play in was at Belper where he had to play at centre half. The plus side is that we have competition for places, and it’s a headache picking the side, but a nice one to have!”

Ian Richardson

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