Almost immediately after Matlock’s surprise 3-0 home defeat by Halesowen on Tuesday night, their second in succession having lost 3-2 at Skelmersdale on Saturday, Gladiators boss Mark Hume declared ” I know my side for Whitley Bay on Saturday now.”
The four times FA Vase winners warmed up for their tie at the Autoworld Arena with a 7-0 thrashing of Bishop Auckland in midweek, striker Adam Shanks scoring four of them, and given that,the Northern League outfit will possibly feel in better fettle than Matlock, who have slid from second to tenth this week, for a clash worth three thousand pounds in prize money to the winners.
It is not only the prize money which is important for Matlock now though. They need to return to winning ways and solve their defensive problems which have been pivotal in both defeats in the past week.
“Whitley Bay will be a good side, make no mistake about that” Hume said. “They’re northern lads playing mostly on their own doorstep, that’s the way they want to go but they’re extremely good players. They’ve always been a good side and we need to be really on it on Saturday to progress.”
Hume also issued a warning to some players who he believes “are not doing the business”.
“They’ve got two more games, I won’t wait about and I won’t let players do what they’ve done to previous managers here. This club has changed now, I don’t accept mediocrity and just average performances. I could have got two lads in on loan before this coming Saturday but because of the club they’re at, it’s not really worth it with it being the FA Cup. I’m expecting a reaction and things being done right.”
Although Matlock failed to convert a host of good opportunities against Halesowen that could and should have seen them home, Hume was more scathing about his side’s defending.
“Again we didn’t manage the game, okay we’d done a lot of good things going forward but 0-0 at half time would have been okay. Then we give away a bad goal so close to the break and 0-1 kills you. Take the Skelmersdale game as well. We had a ridiculous fifteen minutes defensively, it was embarrassing defending and it’s cost us six goals in two matches. We scored twice at Skelmersdale which means you should come away with something. We had no problems going forward there, we were suicidal at the back and that has to stop.I take the point about missed chances against Halesowen to a point, but had it been 0-0 at half time, defenders would have more justification pointing the finger at attacking players for not finding the net. Ted’s (Cribley) beating himself up a bit about the chances he missed but he’s there creating them. Defenders still have to do their jobs.
Hume admitted that in hindsight, it was probably unwise to omit Harry Coates from Tuesday’s starting eleven.
“Things didn’t happen for us tonight and perhaps I shouldn’t have left Harry out. I’ll take the stick for that, I’m big enough to accept it.”
With Lewis King injured, Hume signed goalkeeper George Willis on a month’s loan from Sheffield United last Friday in time to make his debut at Skelmersdale. Willis has clearance from the Blades to play in the FA Cup and the Matlock chief had sympathy for the 20 year old.
“Six goals may have gone past him but none are down to him and I feel really sorry for him for he’s played exceptionally well. Certain people now have to step up to the mark, starting on Saturday.”
A replay if required will be on Tuesday at Hillheads Park (7.45 pm).