If Monday’s FA Trophy draw seemed tough, a visit to Chorley on November 16, then Mark Atkins’ men received confirmation that would be the case in Tuesday night’s 3-1 league defeat on the same ground.

Matlock were well beaten as the Magpies secured a league double to strengthen their already viable title credentials and Matlock know they have it all to do to repeat last season’s Trophy heroics.

But manager Atkins, while acknowledging Chorley’s quality, was not too downhearted.

“Chorley are a good strong outfit and have great players in the main areas, but we showed we can play, we had a lot of the possession but unfortunately weren’t good enough in that final third. Our play up to the final third was excellent but also we didn’t defend well in the first fifteen minutes of the second half when they scored their second and third goals far too easily for my liking, but the first was a clear foul on Micky Harcourt which cost us dearely and gave Chorley momentum.”

While Atkins will be keen to avoid a hat trick of defeats to the Magpies in the Trophy clash, his immediate attention will turn to Saturday’s home game with AFC Fylde, another title contender who surprisingly lost 2-1 at home to Nantwich Town on Tuesday. The Coasters beat Matlock 2-0 at their Kellamergh Park headquarters at the beginning of September.

“We gave them a good game up there but again couldn’t find a way through but while it’ll be tough like all games in this league, we’re at home and we’ve done well at home so far this season.” Atkins continued.

Supporters will be guessing as to the Gladiators line up on Saturday following a stuttering performance in last weekend’s 2-0 Trophy victory at home to St Neots Town and then the subsequent decision to pair Danny Holland with Lavell White in attack at Chorley.

“We did just enough without looking in any trouble against St Neots and on Tuesday we thought that by putting Oscar in the engine room and Lavell with Danny in attack we’d have extra pace” Atkins explained. Bradley Grayson came off the bench at Victory Park to score his first goal since returning from Sweden to add another element to the equation.

Chairman Tom Wright and Atkins are urging local fans to come down and back the club at home games following last Saturday’s poor attendance of just 244.

Wright said ” No-one can deny we’ve not improved the side. The lads are working hard and the home results have been very good so to get just 244 is very disappointing. People are working hard to give Matlock a football club to be proud of, right the way from the first team to the junior sides but we need locals to get down and support the club. I would urge you all to get down and back the players as we aim to stay in the top five, a position everyone’s worked so hard to achieve.”

Atkins joined Wright in his appeal adding ‘We’ve got a good honest set of lads who all want to do well for this football club, they’re all giving one hundred per cent and we’d like to see locals coming down to get behind them.”

Matlock travel to Mickleover Sports in the first round of the Doodson Sports League Cup on Tuesday when they will face former players Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins, now joint managers at Station Road plus Gary Webster and Danny Davidson. Wirksworth based Webster has been absent recently with a groin injury but is hopeful of featuring against his old club.

Midfielder Anton Foster is currently playing for Goole but an agreement is in place that he returns to Matlock if required.

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Respect Manager Phil Bradley will be making a guest appearance at the Reynolds Stadium on Saturday to present Matlock Town with the Premier Division Fair Play Award for October.

Bradley will present a club representative with 2 x 1.5 litres of red wine and a certificate prior to kick off with AFC Fylde.

Ian Richardson

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