Matlock Town will be hoping to extend their unbeaten record in 2014 to five games when they travel to Frickley Athletic this weekend.
Their fourth outing of the calendar year without defeat was a 2-0 home victory over basement side Droylsden last Saturday when manager Mark Atkins’ prediction of a tough test rang true.
The Gladiators second league double of the campaign came thanks to a first half strike from Daryll Thomas and a penalty early in the second period from Danny Holland.
“They (Droylsden) had got better players in recently used to playing at this level and give them credit, they made things difficult for us” Atkins admitted.
“Not taking our chances early on didn’t help us and Jon Kennedy made a fantastic save at 1-0, but after that they didn’t really hurt us and we were more than happy with the three points.”
Atkins agreed that the major positive from last weekend, the three points and the fourth successive clean sheet at home excepted, was the return of fans player of the season Adam Yates after seven weeks out with a fractured cheekbone. Yates replaced Martin Foster in midfield for the final twenty minutes.
“Having Adam back was a massive bonus and in the short time he played it looked like he’d never been away.”
Frickley are again fighting a relegation battle this term, but their hopes of salvation received a shot in the arm with a vital 2-0 win at Stafford Rangers last Saturday.
“It’s always a battle there for their fans get behind them and they’re a good side on their pitch” Atkins added.
“But we want to keep the good run going having won three of the last four. As far as the play offs are concerned we’re playing catch-up so we’ll go there aiming to be positive and wanting all three points.”
Both Thomas, who came off with ankle trouble at half time against Droylsden, and Lewis McMahon who missed out with a groin injury are doubtful, along with defender Lee Featherstone who has a leg injury. All will need fitness checks ahead of the trip to West Yorkshire.
Matlock’s two outstanding league games have been given new dates. They will travel to Stamford on Tuesday March 18 before hosting Blyth Spartans on Tuesday April 1.
More recognition of Matlock Town being a community club came their way during the interval at last weekend’s visit from Droylsden when the Gladiators were presented with their FA Charter Standard award.
The Charter Standard is given to clubs who demonstrate they are well run, sustainable and significantly place emphasis on child protection, quality coaching and safety.
Clubs also need to show a commitment to raising standards to create a positive experience for players, coaches, match officials administrators and volunteers.
The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League is encouraging all of their clubs to gain this award so it can be recognized as an FA Charter Standard League.
“We were absolutely thrilled to learn we had reached Charter Standard” said Chairman Tom Wright. “A lot of work goes on behind the scenes from the first team level down through the reserves and under 19’s to our numerous junior sides and everyone involved has played their part in this success.
Pictured receiving a plaque and certificate from Derbyshire County FA Vice Chairman Alan Smith (centre) is Matlock official Tony Knowles (left) and Chief Executive Keith Brown (right).