Matlock Town head to cup heroes Blyth Spartans on Saturday in the thick of a relegation battle but joint boss Martin Foster remains upbeat about the Gladiators fate in the second half of the campaign.
The opening half of their league campaign saw them end a run of three successive defeats by picking up a valuable point against play off chasing Ramsbottom United thanks to an 84th minute Niall McManus leveller.
“We were delighted to get the point after not getting what we thought we deserved from the previous two matches,” said Foster.
”The lads stuck to their task, they played some good stuff at times, but switched off for a moment early on as we did at Ilkeston to concede the first goal. Mistakes like that can give you an awful lot to do but there was plenty of effort.”
Foster though is well aware of where many of Matlock’s failings lie-in the final third.
He added: “We definitely need to create more going forward.
“But it was a good fightback and the lads are showing they want to do it. We’re all in this one hundred per cent together, but we need to get the goals going in again as they were for two or three games six or so weeks ago.”
Foster picked McManus out for special praise, the 18 years old Sheffield University student being in a rich vein of form since moving north to study following his release by Millwall.
“We’re delighted with Niall, it was a cracking goal again as was his shot against Skelmersdale,” he said. “He’s playing really well to say he was playing through the pain barrier with his foot injury not having properly cleared up.”
Blyth’s 1-0 home win against Trafford on Tuesday night saw them leapfrog Matlock in the table meaning that the Gladiators are now perched just two places out of and one point ahead of the relegation places.
Said Foster: “Blyth have been doing well lately and it was certainly a tremendous result for them on Friday night which will give them confidence from the extra publicity and all that goes with being in the third round of the FA Cup.
“Fair play to them. But we feel we’re getting better, players on the injured list are on the way back, we must maintain our improved form and get even better but we feel its coming.”
Winger Lavell White who joined Matlock from Eastwood Town in February 2013 has moved to Loughborough Dynamo in Evo-Stik NPL Division One South.
Said Foster: “He’s been great in the two or so years he’s been here but he knew he wasn’t going to play week in, week out. We’ve had a chat, he says he wants to play more local to his Nottingham home and also play a bit more. We totally respect and understand that and we wish him all the very best.