“Individual mistakes are killing us” declared Matlock boss Mark Atkins after a disappointing and frustrating afternoon in South Yorkshire saw the Gladiators surprisingly beaten 3-1 by lowly Stocksbridge Park Steels last weekend.
That defeat completed a miserable four days for his side who had been beaten by Glossop North End in the Derbyshire Senior Cup during the previous midweek.
“We can’t defend like we did during the second-half and expect to win football matches,” said Atkins.
“The second goal was the killer, we allowed them far too much time and space in our penalty box and at the moment we’re not getting away with anything, every error is being punished and we’ve got to tighten things up.”
Atkins believes that there is nothing major to worry about in a poor run of form which has brought just one win in their last seven league games.
He added: “It’s basically down to individual mistakes and a lack of concentration. We conceded in the first minute at Stocksbridge which was very disappointing but we reacted very well and should have been well in front by half-time.
“The keeper’s made several good saves and we were very much on top when we conceded a second goal. Once we were behind the penalty can go either way although we thought it was harsh.
“Then Danny Holland was silly to get sent off, he’s apologised but it was a mistake and something we can’t afford to do.”
Matlock were already without one central defender in Adam Yates who had an operation on fractures to his cheekbone on Tuesday following his horrific injury at Glossop, so to lose another top defender in David Haggerty at half-time was a blow they clearly could have done without, although Atkins is hoping he will be ready to face fellow play off contenders Marine at the Reynolds Stadium on Saturday.
Meanwhile, last season’s top marksman Lewis McMahon has been on loan at Skrill Conference North Gainsborough Trinity and he appears to have rediscovered his goalscoring form.
Atkins said: “The idea was for him to get games in and get his confidence back after the injuries he’s had and the suspension at the start of the season, and the loan seems to have worked.
“He’s got five goals in four games and says he feels fit and raring to go. He’s got to stay there for the full month, but we’ll be looking to get him back with us.”
With a challenging festive period just around the corner in which Matlock travel to Buxton on Boxing Day and Whitby Town next Saturday before hosting Worksop Town on New Years Day, Atkins believes it is imperative the Gladiators maintain an impressive home run which has seen only title favorites Chorley go home with maximum points.
He added: “We should really have got something from the Chorley game.
“We know that Marine are always a tough side to play against so we need to be on our game and not make any silly mistakes like we’ve done in recent matches.”