Atkins frustrated at failure to convert chances

Action from the Boxing Day fixture between Matlock Town and Buxton at the Reynolds Stadium.
Action from the Boxing Day fixture between Matlock Town and Buxton at the Reynolds Stadium.

Draw specialists Matlock Town recorded their 11th draw in 24 league matches against county rivals Buxton on Boxing Day, much to the disappointment of Mark Atkins.

The Gladiators chief cited a lacklustre start which saw Buxton go in front after just three minutes and a failure to convert chances as the reasons why Matlock are winless in seven league games.

Atkins said: “We were really poor in the first 15 minutes, the instructions were to start well and try and put Buxton who had been struggling under pressure.

“But that didn’t materialise and we were behind albeit to a very lucky goal but they all count.

“We made a change with Chris Bettney having to come off with a rib injury, Lee Morris came on and we went 4-3-3 and started to look more dangerous, there was more energy, more desire.

“We missed a good chance near to half time and after a few home truths at half time we came out looking far better.

“Their lad was sent off and we got the goal and should have had another but for a bad refereeing decision in disallowing Ian Holmes’ header.

“But we should have gone on and won but we need to be more clinical in front of goal and make those chances count.

“When they were down to ten men we didn’t push hard enough to get that winner.”

Atkins signed striker Scott Bibby from American side University Rio Grande over the weekend as he looks to increase his striking options.

In a clear sign of intent to his squad, Atkins said: “If the present set of players can’t finish the chances off then we’ll have to look elsewhere.”

At least his selection options look to be increasing ahead of the first game of 2012 at Mickleover on Monday afternoon.

James Lukic will return to skipper the Gladiators at Station Road after sitting out the Boxing Day derby through suspension and Oscar Radford, Micky Harcourt and Lee Morris all returned against the Bucks.

Town will be looking to make it a hat-trick of wins in Derby this season having already beaten Sports 2-1 and 4-1 in the League and League Cup respectively at the Reynolds Stadium.

Pictured is an action from the Boxing Day fixture between Matlock Town and Buxton at the Reynolds Stadium.