The pain and disappointment of defeat to Eastwood in last season’s FA Cup should spur Matlock on when they entertain another Blue Square Conference North club in Hinckley United on Saturday.
The Badgers came to Matlock for a third qualifying round clash and won 3-0 without really breaking sweat in probably the Gladiators’ worst display of last season. Giving away a sloppy goal in only the second minute made Matlock’s task all the more difficult.
Matlock manager Mark Atkins, who watched Hinckley lose 2-0 at Boston United last week, believes his side faces a tough game but he saw things that his players could probably exploit.
“We don’t want a repeat of the Eastwood game last season when we never got going after giving away a very poor early goal. That was a very disappointing afternoon for us,” Atkins declared.
“Hinckley are a good side, they’re in the division above us so we must show them due respect. It’s a good game for us to test ourselves against a side from the league we want to get into.”
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Home advantage gives us a very good chance and it’s up to us to make the most of that. It would be great to see a good crowd in getting behind the lads, to help them to what we hope will be a good win. Having seen Hinckley play I feel there’s one or two things we could probably take advantage of, but our attitude’s got to be right and we’ve got to be determined to get through. Certainly though we’ll be punished if we start like we did up at Whitby.”
Atkins was hoping for a clean bill of health in his squad after last night’s home league meeting with North Ferriby United as he prepared his side for the weekend’s tie against a Knitters side who lie in 16th spot in the Conference North table.
The Gladiators made it five draws out of eleven games with the 1-1 score at the Turnbull Ground. After going behind in the 4th minute, a superbly executed Chris Bettney free kick had the Gladiators level on 32 minutes.
“A draw was just about right” Atkins admitted. “It wasn’t the best of games, there wasn’t a lot of quality. The wind spoilt the game but from our point of view, we never turned up in the first thirty minutes, we weren’t at the races. We gave Whitby far too much space but the piece of magic from Chris Bettney woke us up. Three points were there to be won but we didn’t have the killer instinct, no-one was there to finish off the crosses which came in. It was a bit lack lustre.”
The manager admitted that Liam King’s midfield drive was missed as the former Rotherham United junior was pressed into action as a central defender because Adam Yates was collecting his university diploma.
“With Simon Sturdy still a couple of weeks off fitness, we didn’t have another central defender, so Liam’s played there before and did very well but we did miss those driving runs from midfield. In the end though we had no alternative.”
Striker Nathan Joynes could be added to the squad for the weekend after a loan spell at Ossett Town and being on holiday.
If Saturday’s tie ends all square, the replay will be at Hinckley’s Greene King Stadium on Tuesday night (7.45pm).