The Messiah came and delivered for Matlock Town last Saturday.
Striker Messiah McDonald arrived on a month’s loan from Worksop and soon made his mark with a man of the match performance and winning goal in the 2-1 FA Trophy win at Eastwood Town, to earn the Gladiators a home meeting with Evo-Stik NPL First Division South Leek Town in the next round on October 27.
“He certainly made a difference,” said a contented Matlock boss Mark Atkins in midweek. “I’d had my eye on him for a while and tried to get him in last season but he signed a contract at Worksop. We’ve got him in on loan, a few other clubs were after him. He had a very good debut, he was lively and willing to upset defenders by getting in behind them and he deserved his goal. he’s been played wide before but I see him as a centre forward and to score on his debut, and the winning goal was great for him and for all of us.”
Atkins hopes to add another player to his squad before Saturday’s trip to face North Ferriby United who should include former Town midfield dynamo Liam King. Then comes another tough match on Tuesday when Hednesford Town visit the Reynolds Stadium, provided that the Pitmen’s FA Cup tie with Buxton on Saturday does not end all square.
“We’re playing some of the sides towards the top of the league who have spent money bringing in good players during the next month but I think and hope we might have turned a corner being unbeaten in three matches now” said Atkins. We can go into the games with confidence.”
However the manager described some of the defending at Eastwood as “lacksadaisical”. The Badgers struck the Gladiators crossbar three times.
“We gave them those chances because I thought the defending was still lacksadaisical, until we went 2-1 up anyway. Then we were excellent. We had given the ball away in silly areas and given silly free kicks away from which they hit the bar. This might have ben down to us being nervous and trying to win the ball back too soon. It was always going to be a difficult game, we had to stand up to it, that’s why I put Adam Yates in midfield for his pace and strength.”
Atkins hastily arranged a home friendly against Retford United last night (Wednesday) as some of his long term injury stricken players fight their way back to fitness. But recent acquisition Glyn Cotton looks to have joined the sick list after aggravating a calf injury at Eastwood and he is likely to miss the North Ferriby and Hednesford matches.
Winger Rory Coleman has been released after one substitute appearance for Matlock to join Hinckley United but teenage flanker kane Richards loan from Derby County has been extened for a further month.
Meanwhile Atkins was in Matlock last Saturday morning to open the new Greggs Bakers store before heading down the road to Eastwood for the FA Trophy victory.