Two successive wins in the past week sees Matlock Town in the heady heights of sixth spot in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division much to the delight and probably the surprise of a lot of their supporters.
Manager Mark Hume though remains level headed saying that there is still work to do in certain areas if the Gladiators want to maintain their healthy league position, their best start for years. Matlock have three wins out of four to have a return of nine points following Saturday’s 1-0 home win against Whitby Town and Tuesday night’s 3-2 victory at Rushall Olympic.
Now Hume wants his players to complete a promising opening month with good results in their two August Bank Holiday fixtures, away at Hyde United on Saturday before Ilkeston FC visit for what promises to be a mouth watering local derby on Monday afternoon.
Town left it late against Whitby with substitute Niall McManus scoring with a minute left before on Tuesday, Joel Purkiss, with his third goal of the campaign and McManus again opened up a two goal lead which was cancelled out by a Luke Benbow brace. But just ninety seconds after Benbow’s equalizer substitute Nathan Forbes stroked in the winner.
“I’m as pleased as the fans are with the two results, don’t get me wrong” said Hume. “But we need to manage the games better as Tuesday night proved. Rushall is a very tough place to go to but at 2-0 we were cruising but then made life very hard for ourselves. I doubt they (Rushall) got into our penalty area before Lewis made that mistake that put them back in it. It was their first real shot but then we’re on the back foot. It was unfortunate for if that shot came in another hundred times, Lewis would save it, but then it’s a different game.”
Rushall had central defender Michael Townsend sent off in the 64th minute but still caused Matlock problems.
“Even with a man extra we had problems although as we did last week, you tend to play harder with a man less, but we could have made life a lot easier. The results have been brilliant but there’s things we can do a lot better.”
Captain Danny Holland missed the Rushall win through illness so McManus and Purkiss formed the striking duo and both looked dangerous on the night.
“There was no point Danny coming if he wasn’t well and pairing Joel and Niall gave us pace and movement. Nicky Travis and Liam Needham were working well in the middle of the park and there looked to be goals in us, the first two were great finishes.”
Hume now has to decide whether to recall Holland for the Bank Holiday games and although McManus was pulled off shortly after the interval at Rushall with a hamstring complaint, it was done as a precautionary measure.
The Matlock boss is looking forward to the Hyde and Ilkeston matches, hoping his team can add morel points to their impressive tally to date.
“Hyde were Conference North last season but it doesn’t mean they’ll bounce straight back, they’ll be a good side but will need to adapt to the demands of this league. We know Ilkeston are a good side and it’ll be a big game for the fans, but in my mind they’re all big games and we’ll need good performances in both matches to come out on top.”
The Gladiators will be at home in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup following the draw which was made at Wembley on Monday. Former NPL club Whitley Bay,now in the top tier of the Northern League and FA Vase winners record holders having won it four times in 2002, 2009, 2010 and 2011 will take on Newcastle on Tyne based Heaton Stannington, a division below the Bay, for the right to travel to the Autoworld Arena on Saturday September 12.