Atkins: Points on the road are vital

Matlock defender David Haggerty (left) gets involved against the Linnets on Saturday.
Matlock defender David Haggerty (left) gets involved against the Linnets on Saturday.

Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins has told his squad not to let the season ebb away as their 2-0 home victory against King’s Lynn Town last Saturday rekindled hopes of a push for the play-offs.

A double from last season’s top marksman Lewis McMahon, coupled with a tremendous defensive display and some fine goalkeeping by Jon Kennedy, saw the Gladiators see off fourth-placed Lynn who had won their previous four league games, and earn Matlock their first league double of the campaign.

McMahon made it four goals for the seaso, all against the Norfolk club having also bagged a brace in the 4-0 romp at The Walks in September.

The win put Matlock back in the top half in 11th and while they have a lot of hard work in front of them if they are to finish in the top five, Atkins is determined that they will make a decent fist of things.

He said: “I told the lads after the game on Saturday that we mustn’t just play the season out, let’s go out there determined to win every game and see where we end up.”

The Gladiators have been in excellent nick at the Reynolds Stadium with only Chorley having gone home with maximum points. Atkins’ men have conceded just a miserly eight goals in their 13 home league matches so far.

But away from home they are without a win since the 3-1 victory at Stafford Rangers on October 12 and if Matlock are to finish in a play-off spot, their form on the road will need to improve.

They have won four games on opposition soil but have lost eight. They have twice as many home points than they have picked up on their travels.

So opportunity knocks at Stamford on Saturday, a team they beat convincingly in September, albeit only 2-0 through a Danny Holland brace.

Stamford are on the edge of the relegation zone but as Atkins points out, have shown improved form lately.

He said: “Stamford have had some good results recently to get out of the bottom four so we know we’ll face another tough game down there.

“We must continue to work as hard as we’ve done recently and I’m hoping we’ll be buoyed by a very good performance against a very good King’s Lynn last weekend.

“King’s Lynn were on a good run and apart from a couple of scares which we got away with, we were worth the win and had some good chances, taking two of them.

“Our away results haven’t been anywhere near those at home but I think the performances have been generally okay apart from not taking enough of the chances we’ve created.

That’s something we need to correct as we have to start picking up all three points away from home”