The importance of Matlock Town’s win against Grantham Town last weekend could not be overstated.
According to boss Mark Atkins it was ‘the be all and end all’.
The Gladiators removed the monkey on their backs of not winning a Saturday home league game all season as a first half goal bonanza saw the ball end up in the onion bag five times with Matlock netting three of them.
But more important than that was the fact that the Gladiators beat a team just below them in the league, and also a look at their next two league fixtures also meant that victory was absolutely vital. Matlock face the top two in their next two league games, visiting Hednesford Town this weekend, before hosting league leaders North Ferriby United seven days later.
“I was very pleased with the win against Grantham who to be honest surprised me a little,” said Atkins.
“They caused us some problems in the first half but having started with four forwards we tightened things up in the second half by dropping a player back and we defended very much better.
“In the end we could have won by more.
He added: “Winning was the be all and end all.
“Given that we play the top two in the next two games, it was a very important result.”
Given the current arctic weather, the chances of Saturday’s clash at Keys Park going ahead look slim, but preparations still have to be made. Atkins added: “Hednesford are the best team I’ve seen this season, they’re very strong in all departments and you only need to look at the quality they have on the bench to see they’re pushing hard for the title.
“But if we go there all fully focused and stay solid by keeping their opportunities down, we’ll get chances and it’ll be up to us to take them.”
Tuesday night’s Derbyshire Senior Cup quarter final at home to Borrowash Victoria was called off through snow and ice and has been rearranged for January 29.
An improvement in the weather will see the Gladiators at home to Carlton Town in the Doodson Sports Cup this Tuesday, with the winners travelling to Grantham in the following round.
Adam Yates (thigh), Micky Harcourt (foot) and James Ashmore (ankle) would have sat out the Borrowash clash with Atkins saying that it would have given other squad members the chance of a full 90 minutes.