A furious Mark Atkins lambasted his Matlock side after the 3-1 home derby defeat to Buxton, their second defeat in three days against play-off rivals.
Atkins and his assistant Nick Buxton, currently serving three and two-match match touchline bans after being removed to the stand by the referee in the home defeat by Marine in January, have had a rotten week.
Last weekend a late goal saw them return home from Kendal with a 1-0 loss, but on Tuesday, with Derbyshire pride and precious play-off points at stake, he raged at his team’s defensive errors plus the hoof ball tactics of the first-half.
He said: “I laid into them at half-time. I want my sides to play football. We were miles off what we were wanting from them in the first-half. I never tell my teams to play long-ball football. We didn’t have the courage to get the ball down and play and then there was a bad error for the first goal to put us 1-0 down in a tight game.”
Unfortunately, two more howlers handed the points gift wrapped to the Bucks.
“The most stupid of errors for the second goal in which Adam Sollitt must take full responsibility gave Buxton a lift, then we gave them a very easy third. At 3-1 down against a good side like Buxton, you’re not going to come back. At 2-1 down the desire and determination levels went down again. I’m very disappointed with a lot of the players and when they’re doing things like that I can’t stand up and defend them.”
Some team members might just have tested Atkins’ patience a little bit too much. “I’ll be looking to bring players in for we need to try and get a win at Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday as we can’t go there feeling sorry for ourselves,’’ he said.
The games get no easier for Matlock, who now sit in fourth spot, for they travel to third placed North Ferriby United on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, leading scorer Ross Hannah, whose penalty against Buxton was his 44th goal of the season, remains a Matlock player despite interest from a number of clubs.
“We accepted a bid from Barnet,” said Atkins after the bid became public in a Sunday national newspaper. “He was there talking to them on Friday and wanted time to think about it. That’s as far as things have got.”
Torquay United’s interest had become public knowledge a few days earlier when some of their supporters had posted messages on the Matlock Town website fans forum saying Hannah had moved to Plainmoor. But on the Wednesday night Hannah hit Matlock’s winner at Whitby and Atkins labelled these claims as “premature to say the least.”
Atkins was presented with his Evo-Stik League Premier Division Manager of the Month award for February prior to kick-off on Tuesday.