Atkins furious at pre-derby revellers

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Matlock boss Mark Atkins has blasted two members of his squad after finding out they were in a nightclub well into the early hours on the eve of the Gladiators’ 1-0 defeat at Buxton on Easter Monday.

Atkins would not name the players as he fumed over a lacklustre showing from his side, the hosts winning thanks to Marc Roberts’ first-half goal.

Atkins said: “Two of my players were in a nightclub the night before the game.

“We’ve had great team spirit here lately by fighting for each other and this isn’t acceptable by any stretch of the imagination.

“It’s not fair on the rest of the players, the club nor the supporters and disciplinary action will be taken against them.

“Their performances on Monday were poor and staying out late will have contributed to it.

“If I’d got players to replace them, I would certainly have left them out of the team.”

Atkins was unhappy with the performance in general, hinting that more commitment would have brought some reward.

Ironically, he was more pleased with what he watched in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at play-off chasing AFC Fylde.

The visit to Lancashire was hastily arranged to ease fixture chaos after there was no guarantee that the Gladiators’ home clash with Worksop Town would take place.

Fylde’s trip to Stocksbridge, meanwhile, was called off on Friday.

“It’s been a frustrating Easter,” said Atkins.

“Big mistakes in both games have proved to be expensive.

“We should have defended better for their penalty on Saturday when Adam (Yates) didn’t need to challenge their player and at Buxton Jon Kennedy’s made a bad decision for their goal.

“Both players have held their hands up but if we hadn’t conceded those goals we’d probably have got two draws.”

A small squad is making life difficult for Atkins, but he refuses to use this as an excuse for the defeats over Easter to Buxton and AFC Fylde.

He said: “We made a few chances on Saturday and passed the ball better.

“At Buxton there was nothing, no end product in the final third. We should have done better and I won’t let the season peter out. If I need to use the reserves then I will do.”

Adam Yates missed the Buxton game after his hip injury flared up once more and Atkins is hoping he will be fit to face Curzon Ashton in the Doodson Sports League Cup semi final at the Reynolds Stadium tonight (Thursday).

But top scorer Lewis McMahon will definitely miss the cup tie and Saturday’s visit of AFC Fylde.

“It’s a nasty injury and the swelling’s gone down from around his thigh area to his knee and you simply can’t play with an injury like that, it’s far too dangerous,” said Atkins.

“We’re just hoping it settles down very soon.”

Matlock will then travel to play Ashton United in the Evo-Stik League on Wednesday.