The sight of top scorer Lewis McMahon hobbling out of the changing rooms on crutches tainted Matlock’s satisfaction in reaching the semi finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night.
Playing their first game in two and a half weeks, Matlock beat East Midlands Counties League Borrowash Victoria 4-1 when McMahon had already added to his tally by giving the Gladiators a 12th minute lead before being stretchered off with an ankle injury in the 5th minute.
It was McMahon’s 19th goal of the season but initial fears are that it may be some time before he is able to hit the 20 mark and beyond.
“It looks bad, I reckon two to three weeks at the very least,” said physio Mick Cunningham.
Manager Mark Atkins added: “We won’t know until it’s settled down a bit and he’s seen by a doctor but at the moment it looks like he’s got a tennis ball at the side of his ankle.
“It’s tremendously disappointing, not only for Lewis but for everyone at the club for he’s been playing especially well and scoring a lot of goals. There was nothing malicious in the challenge, it’s just one of those things.”
The first game of what looks to be a lengthy spell out for the former Sheffield Wednesday and Notts County man is when bogy team Ashton United visit on Saturday.
The Robins completed a league double over Matlock last term with 3-0 and 2-0 victories while during the previous campaign, the game finished 1-1 in Derbyshire but Ashton won twice at their Hurst Cross headquarters, 3-1 in the league seven days after a 1-0 League Cup semi final defeat of the Gladiators.
Ashton are currently eighth and Atkins acknowledges their quality.
“Since I’ve been at Matlock I’ve rated them as one of the best teams in the league, they work hard for each other and have great spirit. They’ve signed some good players as well so it’ll be a tough game.”
Matlock are down in 17th and will want to build on their first Saturday home league win of the season against Grantham three weeks ago.
Having the Borrowash game on was a welcome boost.
“It was a good work out after two and a bit weeks without a game, it was important to get on the pitch and be playing although we didn’t play all that great.It was a comfortable win, they had just the one chance and I was happy we created chances and took some of them. With Lewis out now it gives others the opportunity to show what they can do.”
Adam Yates is expected to return after a troublesome recurrence of a lower back injury which saw him on the sidelines on Tuesday while Ben Hunter could be in line for a first outing since returning from North Ferriby.
Atkins revealed a seven day notice has gone in for a fresh defender.