Matlock Town’s joint boss Glenn Kirkwood admitted the Gladiators were “still a bit short” following Tuesday night’s narrow defeat to top of the table Shaw Lane.
The Shaw Lane loss was all the more disappointing as there was nothing to choose between two closely matched sides, save for a momentary lapse in concentration which led to the Ducks’ winning goal.
This all after the Gladiators first away win came just four days earlier, an excellent 1-0 win at Workington.
Kirkwood said: “The quality wasn’t there on Tuesday but we’ve no complaints whatever with the lads’ hard work and endeavour. Unfortunately we didn’t trouble their goalkeeper, they didn’t trouble ours apart from one moment.
“We defended brilliantly for eighty nine and a half minutes, they’d won ten out of eleven coming into the game so we knew they were a good side but there was nothing between us apart from that one mistake.
“After that they were happy to sit in and waste time. There were possibly some tired legs out there after the long trip on Saturday when we deserved the three points after working hard and defending well against a good team.”
Midfielder Michael Williams made a surprise return last weekend after being injured in the pre season win at Heanor on August 1 and was praised by Kirkwood.
He said: “Willo’s a big part of our game with his energy and surging midfield runs, he has the desire and the willingness to run through brick walls for us, we’ve missed that. His return is a massive positive for us.”
It took a Shaun Harrad penalty to secure the three points in Cumbria with Matlock missing a glut of chances to make the victory more emphatic.
“To be honest I’d take 1-0 every week,” said Kirkwood.“We won’t have a go at them for missing chances, the lads don’t do it on purpose, it’s something we’ll have to continue working at in training and try to improve.”
There have been some strange results so far this season, Saturday’s visitors to the DCJ Group Arena, Sutton Coldfield Town, being a case in point. The Royals have beaten Shaw Lane and then last weekend Buxton, only to be on the wrong end of a 6-1 drubbing at Grantham in midweek.
Matlock drew 3-3 at Coles Lane last month and Kirkwood says Matlock will take nothing for granted.
“Results show what a competitive league this is, as in any other game we’ll have to be on our game to get the three points or we could fall short,” he said. “First and foremost we ask that all of the lads work hard and put a good shift in which they’ve done in the last two games. Hopefully then we can go on and win some games and get up that table.”
Matlock play West Midland sides in quick succession as they visit Hednesford on Tuesday.
Kirkwood is hopeful of a new signing ahead of the weekend, perhaps conscious that he needs to strengthen the squad.
“Marc Newsham’s still some way off with his ankle, Callum Lloyd needs another fortnight. Rhys Sharpe and Luis Rose have had slight hamstring problems and Jamie Yates is out at Handsworth Parramore getting some games in to get his fitness up. We should then have a stronger sqyuad in the next week or two,” he added.