Atkins lauds victory

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Mark Atkins believes Matlock Town’s 4-0 win at basement club Retford United on Saturday was a massive result in more ways than one.

Not only did it end a run of three successive league defeats, but on a day when half of the scheduled Premier Divison programme was washed out, the Gladiators gained valuable ground in the play-off race.

Manager Atkins said: “ Points on the board are better than games in hand as we’ve found out. Other clubs are going to have to face the type of demanding schedule we faced in January when we had to play a lot of games. Injuries, tiredness and suspensions can all kick in with a programme like that, so there is pressure on the other clubs to get the points they need.”

Atkins was pleased with both the result and the performance at Cannon Park, as goals from James Lukic, James Knowles, Ross Hannah and Anthony Wilson earned the Gladiators their expected win against a Retford side yet to win at home this season.

He said: “It was a thoroughly professional performance from us. It could have ended up seven or eight nil but for the Retford goalkeeper, who also saved a Hannah penalty, and better finishing.”

After the recent rush of fixtures, Matlock have a clear midweek before Kendal Town visit the Reynolds Stadium on Saturday. Matlock will want some form of revenge against the Lake District side who won an FA Trophy replay at The Reynolds Stadium in November.

Atkins also praised midfielder Liam King who he reckons has been Matlock’s best player in recent weeks.

He said: “Liam had a bad time of it early in the season with his tonsilitis which set him back a bit, and consequently we had to leave him out of the side but since coming back in, whether he’s played in midfield, at centre back or full back, he’s been absolutely outstanding and his fitness levels have been fantastic.

“His attitude has been spot on and it’s a lesson others should learn and follow Liam’s example that having been left out, he worked so hard to earn his place back and then keep it. He’s been our best player in the last few weeks.”