Matlock boss Mark Hume wasn’t surprised by striker Joel Purkiss’ wonder goal that put the Gladiators in front in last Saturday’s home FA Trophy victory over Gresley but says now is the time to show he can back up that quality with the ugly side of the game.
Purkiss latched on to a tame clearance by visiting goalkeeper Callum Ferrie just inside the Gresley half to turn and lob exquisitely home from 45 yards for a goal that was the talk of social media.
“That’s Joel all over, missing one from nearly on the goal line and then scoring from the half way line. He has great technique and ability, that’s why I brought him to the club, he just needs to put the workrate in on a more consistent basis. Now we’re hoping that by getting a run in the side and working hard the goals will come for him. He’s got all the talent and he’s a great lad in the dressing room, but he needs to work hard and keep putting a shift in, His fitness is getting better and that should help him to do that.”
Purkiss’ hopes of a more regular place were boosted when loanee Sam Smith returned to Alfreton to take part in their 1-1 draw at AFC Telford last weekend. But Hume added that he will be speaking to players he has submitted seven day notices for this week, but it seems that the ball is very much in Purkiss’ court.
Hume had sympathy for Smith who failed to score during his month long stay with the Gladiators.
“He had some bad luck in front of goal, his all round game was good and that can happen to strikers” he added.
Goalscoring remains a headache for Matlock who could easily have been out of sight and on course to repeat their 7-0 Derbyshire Senior Cup Final win against the Moatmen at Chesterfield last April, had they converted some gilt edged chances. Ferrie also pulled off a series of fine saves but the Purkiss cracker was all that separated the teams at half time with Gresley improving in the second half before Laurie Wilson’s late penalty sealed the 2-0 success. It was the first time Town had scored more than once in a home game this season.
“We could and probably should have had five goals in the first half” said Hume. “It was the same old thing, creating chances but not taking them, but because we’re creating them I feel we’re going to click very soon. To be fair Gresley deserve a lot of credit for their second half performance, they made it hard for us while also we stopped doing the things we’d done so well before half time. They probably knew they had to be better else they’d have been on the end of a hiding.”
Monday’s draw for the next stage was unkind to Matlock who must travel to Barnsley based Shaw Lane Aquaforce, who like Gresley ply their trade in the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South but are competing strongly for top spot with Stafford Rangers. Former Gladiators Oscar Radford, Muhammed Sabo, Lee Morris and Jordan Deacey are in the opposing ranks which should add extra spice to the tie.
But Matlock’s attention is firmly fixed for now on Saturday’s visit of Frickley Athletic, who Matlock beat 2-1 in West Yorkshire on the opening day of the season. Frickley are enjoying a better season than in recent years currently lying in 14th spot two places and two points better off than Matlock having played two fewer matches. Former Matlock strikers Zeph Thomas, Jacob Hazel and Bradley Grayson could all face their old club.
“They’ve improved since the first game of the season so I’m sure we’ll face a far tougher test this time” said Hume who will again be without defender Harry Coates who serves a further suspension of one game this weekend for his red card at Whitby a fortnight ago. Coates though will be eligible to return in Tuesday’s Doodson Sport League Cup trip to Spalding United.
Fans will have to wait and see if there are any additions by Hume to the Matlock squad ahead of Saturday.
“There’s a lot to consider for me and the players I’m talking to, loan players are all well and good from time to time but I would like to make some more permanent signings. People may say we were a bit thin on the bench with me and Scott (Maxfield) as substitutes but I could still play if need be, it’s just that I’ve chosen to manage and Scott is well capable of coming on and doing a good job, in fact he’s one of the fittest lads at the club, ask the lads in training. At the end of the day you can only play three substitutes and you know in most cases the potential changes you can make and who can come on, so I’m not into having a load of lads sat in the stand twiddling their thumbs on a matchday. Lads I’m talking to have to decide whether they want to come and some that might come could easily be cup tied for next weekend at Shaw Lane so that’s worth considering from a timing perspective also.”
Meanwhile Hume was delighted that his three loan signings from Sheffield United last season have found themselves loan deals with National League Premier clubs. Defender Julian Banton has been with FC Halifax Town for several weeks while last Friday striker Jamie McDonagh went to Chester and winger Otis Khan joined Barrow,
“They were good for us and we were good for them, I think we gave them a good grounding and it taught them a lot especially when we had a bit of a struggle. Jamie in particular is a gem and I’m scratching my head as to why nobody has come in for him earlier, I even think he could have had a shot at the first team, but I’m delighted all three of them have found deals to further their development.”