Matlock Town’s hopes of continuing their fine form so far this season received a major shot in the arm as news filtered through that top scorer Marcus Dinanga will remain a Gladiator for the remainder of the campaign.
Dinanga, (18), has hit eighteen league and cup goals since arriving at the DCJ group Arena on loan from Burton Albion, and he has become a firm fans favourite, even having a tee shirt manufactured in his name as fans sing the Oasis hit “Don’t look back in anger” with Dinanga replacing the final two words.
“Everything’s sorted and we have him with us until the end of the season” said a delighted Gladiators joint boss Craig Hopkins after Dinanga;s strike had settled a close and tense local derby at struggling Ilkeston on Monday afternoon.
“It’s a big lift for all of us, all the lads are absolutely delighted he’s staying here and we feel it’ll do him good as well, so all in all it’s brilliant for both the football club and Marcus, He’s got tons of ability, we’re pleased with the progress he’s made and it’s a big compliment to us that we’ve managed to keep him.”
Matlock’s striking options were also increased with the signing of pacy Anthony Dwyer, formerly with Mansfield Town, who was last week recruited from Stafford Rangers, Dwyer (20) made his first start for the Gladiators in place of the injured Marc Newsham against Ilkeston,the club he was with at the start of the season.
“He did well particularly as he’s not started a game for a while but he’s the type of lad who’ll put himself about and will be a good addition to the squad” Hopkins added.
The win at Ilkeston proved to be a more difficult assignment than a lot of observers imagined, as the Robins youthful side had been hammered 7-0 at Mickleover in their previous outing.
“We knew it would be a difficult game as they obviously wanted to put things right after their last result.They’re also a different proposition at home, having drawn with Whitby and beaten Buxton and with the pitch freezing over towards the end, it meant we had to dig in more and graft, We weren’t our normal selves in the first half but we were better in the second half. Dwayne Wiley’s header looked to be over the line, and had that counted it would heve been a different game but we’re not blaming the assistant, he couldn’t see if the ball had gone over the line, so it’s one of those things as was Niall McManus’ disallowed goal straight afterwards. We wanted that opening goal and once we got it the game opened up but Ilkeston did very well. We’d have been happy beforehand with a 1-0 win, getting the points on the board is what really matters.”
Attention now switches to another game against a struggling side as bottom of the table Corby Town are at the DCJ Group Insurance Arena on Saturday. The Steelmen though, produced the shock result f the day on Monday though, beating high riding Spennymoor Town 3-1, this result coupled with the Gladiators win sees Hopkins and Glenn Kirkwood’s men rise to fifth spot.
“Corby have some really good players” Hopkins warned, “If you added all the transfer fees together of their players it would be in the millions of pounds. They have a new manager, so at some time they would click, which it appears they have done on Monday so we need to be on our toes once again and make sure we do our job. Yes we’re up to fifth but we’re not thinking about the play-offs, Saturday and the Corby game is all we have on our minds at the moment. We had a fantastic crowd against Buxton on Boxing Day, we’d really like to see a lot of those people back watching and supporting us against Corby.”
Matlock will again be without midfielder Michael Williams, who finishes a two game ban after accumulating ten cautions.
Meanwhile the Gladiators home Integro League Cup home clash with Basford United has been put back two weeks to Tuesday January 24 as Basford have a Nottinghamshire Senior Cup tie that week. Their league game at Skelmersdale, postponed last Thursday with the hosts’ Stormy Corner pitch being frozen , will now take place on Tuesday February 21 while the league visit to Grantham will be on St Valentine’s