Gladiators urged to end on a high

Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins wants his side to end the season on a high after their fine performance and great result in beating play off bound FC United of Manchester last weekend.

The Gladiators won 2-1 with a performance that pleased Atkins and the fans alike.

“I was very pleased with the way the lads went about their work. We had a game plan and went 4-3-3- to try and combat the way FC United play,” he said.

“We got in amongst them and didn’t let them get into their stride and we just about deserved the win.”

Atkins believes The Reds will make the play offs in spite of the defeat at the Reynolds Stadium being their third on the trot inside a week.

“They’re a good side and if you can finish above them then you’ve got a good shout at being promoted. It was also fantastic to see such a large crowd (1319 was comfortably Matlock’s highest of the season) which made for a tremendous atmosphere.

“Our fans also got behind their side so all in all it was a great day. Now we want to finish the season well and I’ll be looking for the same kind of determination and endeavour, plus wanting us to play a bit. We did hoof the ball a bit in the first half on Saturday, I said to the players at half time, let’s get the ball down and play and we created some very good opportunities in the second half. The aim now is a place in the top ten.”

Matlock played their final home game of the season last night (Wednesday) against Whitby Town before they complete their league programme at Rushall Olympic on Saturday.

“Rushall have had a great season since being promoted and are a tough side to play against. It was a hard game at our place although we won but I’m confident we can go there and get something if we play like we did on Saturday” Atkins said.

Striker Nathan Joynes season looks to have finished early as his knee has swelled up after playing two full matches over the Easter weekend. Lee Featherstone has a hamstring problem while Kris Bowler is battling on despite having two knocks on his ankle and a bad back.

“The players deserve credit for battling on. We didn’t go out bringing in players on deadline day, basically because we wanted to keep within budget which is very important. The lads have buckled down and it was so pleasing that they got a good result on Saturday.”