Boss: we must convert chances

Action from the Boxing Day fixture between Matlock Town and Buxton at the Reynolds Stadium.
Action from the Boxing Day fixture between Matlock Town and Buxton at the Reynolds Stadium.

Mark Atkins says that the Boxing Day 1-1 home draw with local rivals Buxton sums up their season so far.

Not only was it the draw specialists 11th all-square verdict out of 24 league games played, the way the game went was all too familiar according to the Matlock chief.

“The instructions to the lads was to start well as Buxton had been struggling and to try and put them on the back foot but that didn’t materialise.

“We were very poor in the first 15 minutes, and even though we went one down to a lucky goal, we could have no complaints,” said the Town chief.

Chris Bettney collected a rib injury which means he could miss the next few games, and with just strikers on the bench, it necessitated a change in formation which brought Matlock into the game.

“Lee Morris came on so we went 4-3-3 which made us look more potent attacking-wise,” the Matlock manager continued.

“We looked more like I wanted us to be, there was more energy, more desire.

“We ought to have equalised from a very good chance from a corner just before half time.

“I got them in at half-time and told them a few home truths.

“There was a lot more effort and determination in the second half. Their lad’s got sent off for a bad tackle and we’re then pleased to score to get us level.

“Then a poor refereeing decision has robbed us of a winner. The linesman said there was nothing wrong with Holmesy’s goal but what can you do?

“We then had two or three good opportunities that we didn’t make good use of and with them down to ten men we didn’t push hard enough to break them down towards the end.

“We need to start taking our chances, we need to start winning instead of drawing so many.

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It’s a fine line between one and three points but the onus is on us to take those chances. If the lads we have at present can’t do it, then I’ll need to look elsewhere.”

The Gladiators’ latest new signing is a striker in Scott Bibby, a Doncaster-based player who has been playing with University Rio Grande in America.

“He’s showed up well in training and did well in the five or ten minutes he had against Buxton,” said Atkins. “He’s lively and has good pace and can offer us something different.”

His selection options appear to be increasing as James Lukic should return to skipper the side in Bank Holiday Monday’s visit to Mickleover.

Micky Harcourt and Oscar Radford made welcome returns to the back four against Buxton and suffered no reaction, as did striker Lee Morris.

“Having James back will be a bonus and we’ve missed both Oscar and Micky.

“Lee also did very well when he came on, so hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel,“ Atkins concluded.