Matlock re-signed striker Shaun Tuton this week from Belper Town and they will be hoping he can provide the goals lacking in recent matches which have seen them drop valuable league points and go out of the FA Trophy.
The Gladiators lost 1-0 at Witton Albion last weekend, their fifth league outing without a win in which a meagre three points have been collected and three goals scored. Matlock dominated the match, restricting the Cheshire outfit to just one chance which was taken as Anthony Gardner cracked in the 20th minute decider. In contrast Town created several good chances and missed the lot.
But boss Mark Atkins refused to be too downhearted as he prepares his troops to face Trafford at home on Saturday before travelling to Glossop North End in the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night.
“The last two away matches have been disappointing in that the opposing managers have come up to us and said we fully deserved to win the game . What they have shown is that there’s not a deal wrong. On Saturday we had four good chances but were punished by what was actually a very good Witton goal. The effort and determination is there. We’ve had a run of tough games where we’ve more than held our own. The confidence is still there, we just need to get our shooting boots on and get in front in games.”
Twenty two years old Tuton originally joined Matlock from Teversal at the beginning of last season after scoring and impressing in a pre season game between the two clubs. He managed just one goal in his first spell which ended after six weeks when he moved to Christ Church Meadow, that one goal coming in an FA Cup tie against the Nailers. He quickly made a name for himself at Belper scoring twenty two goals in little over a year in which he had trials with Chesterfield. But Tuton has slipped out of favor at the First Division South promotion contenders and Atkins was keen to have Tuton back, particularly as Derbyshire Premier Division rivals Buxton and Ilkeston were rumored to be interested in recruiting Tuton.
Atkins discounted suggestions that Tuton’s arrival is a reaction to the Witton defeat.
“I’ve been looking to bring in another striker for several weeks now. I’ve kept an eye on Shaun ever since he left us and have seen him a couple of times this season and have been impressed by him. He’s got a good scoring record at Belper, an excellent work rate and has decent strength and pace which means he should be a good addition to our squad.”
Tuton could make his debut against Trafford alongside joint top scorer Danny Holland with fellow leading marksman on ten goals, Daryl Thomas, again a doubt with a thigh strain. Matlock will be aiming to extend their good home record in which only title favorites Chorley have left the Reynolds Stadium with all three points. The hosts’ other objective is to reverse an opening day defeat at Trafford who fought back to win 2-1 after Thomas had given Matlock a first half lead.
The Senior Cup clash at Surrey Street represents Matlock’s final hope of cup success this term and Atkins says his side will be treating the competition seriously. Last season they were within touching distance of lifting the trophy in the final at Chesterfield when they led Ilkeston 1-0 but the Robins controversially came out on top with two very late goals.
“In the League Cup we took the opportunity to play lads who hadn’t had many games but we always take the Derbyshire Senior Cup seriously and we’ll hope to field a full strength side against Glossop” Atkins insisted.
Prior to the Witton visit Matlock brought in 25 years old goalkeeper Jonathan Hedge oman initial month’s loan from Grimsby Town to cover for regular custodian Jon Kennedy who began a three match ban following his red card in the Doodson Sports League Cup exit to Mickleover Sports.
Herdge was with Rotherham United as a youngster but then was a key member in the FC Halifax Town side which won successive promotions from the NPL First Division North and the NPL Premier Division to the Conference North. A former England C international, Hedge then was with Tamworth before moving to Cambridge United in July 23012. A year later he mobbed on to Blundell Park.
“I’ve been looking about to see who was available this past two or three weeks and we’re delighted to bring Jonathan to the football club. I’d also like to thank Grimsby manager Paul Hurst for his help with this for we’ve got a top class goalkeeper” said Atkins.