GLADIATORS: Matlock Town boss targets unbeaten finish

Matlock Town V Blyth Spartans Evo Stik Premier. James Ashmore is mobbed by his Matlock teammates as they take the lead Picture by: James Williamson
Matlock Town V Blyth Spartans Evo Stik Premier. James Ashmore is mobbed by his Matlock teammates as they take the lead Picture by: James Williamson

Matlock boss Mark Atkins has challenged his depleted side to win their final six matches of the season.

Atkins had watched his side concede a late equaliser to play-off chasing Blyth Spartans at the Autoworld Arena on Tuesday.

Matlock Town V Blyth Spartans Evo Stik Premier. Mark Atkins instructing his matlock side Picture by: James Williamson

Matlock Town V Blyth Spartans Evo Stik Premier. Mark Atkins instructing his matlock side Picture by: James Williamson

In a feisty clash, which saw eight yellow cards, the Gladiators took the lead through James Ashmore before Ashley Davis levelled for the visitors.

The draw came after then league leaders FC United of Manchester had overturned a half-time deficit to squeeze out Matlock with a 2-1 victory.

It meant Matlock’s winless streak stretched to six games.

Atkins said: “I’m disappointed we’ve not picked up more points from those two games. On Saturday we had FC United on the rack at half time, we’d put them under pressure and scored a great goal. But a lack of concentration cost us, particularly with their first goal.

“The referee’s missed a foul on Adam Yates for the second but we’re at fault for not picking up their man at the back post. Had we concentrated more we’d definitely have got a point, possibly all three.”

Then against Blyth Matlock failed to make hay when they were on top.

“We bossed it,” said Atkins. “Blyth were happy just to sit in and try and get something on the break. We should have been two or three up at half time but things just didn’t go for us.

“Young Jack Broadhead’s headed virtually everything, then didn’t for their goal, but I’m very pleased with the lads’ attitude and commitment which has been first class.”

Injuries and suspension are playing their part with key defenders David Haggerty and Micky Harcourt plus second top scorer Daryll Thomas out through injury while leading marksman Danny Holland began a four game ban in midweek.

Atkins said: “We’ve got four big players out. But we were still able to compete and be a better team against Blyth who have high hopes of the play offs and that’s fantastic. Tremendous credit is due to the players and it shows we have a good squad of players here.”

Matlock now look forward to hosting Witton Albion at the Autoworld Arena on Saturday before travelling to Buxton on Wednesday night.

“Witton are fighting for their lives but have good players and we’ll need to be on our toes while Buxton’s a local derby we want to do well in,” added Atkins.

“The last two or three games have shown we’re not prepared to let the season die on us and now let’s go on and try and win our last six games and see where that takes us.”