Versatile Oscar earns plaudits

Oscar Radford, Matlock
Oscar Radford, Matlock

Oscar Radford’s impressive form for Matlock Town has resulted in his loan period being extended for another month.

The Doncaster Rovers full back has turned in a string of good performances since making his debut in the 4-0 home win over Chorley on October 8.

But he has not been restricted to his favoured left back berth.

Radford has covered in both a central defensive position for skipper James Lukic and, when Micky Harcourt was banned for the recent goalless draw at top of the table Northwich Victoria, it was Radford who occupied the right back slot.

“Oscar’s done great for us, he’s proved to be very versatile, being able to play right along the back four and he’s slotted into any position we’ve asked him to fill very well, so we’re delighted to have him at the club for another month,” said manager Mark Atkins.

“I’m sure all of our fans will be as pleased as we are that Oscar is staying here a bit longer.”

The news is particularly timely as Lee Featherstone is still out of action with a groin injury.

Ben Algar would be the replacement if Radford had returned to the Keepmoat Stadium.

However, the former Chesterfield winger is currently in great form further up the field, epitomised by his brace of goals in last Wednesday’s 4-0 home demolition of Stocksbridge.

Meanwhile, James Knowles has moved on to Evo-Stik NPL First Division South promotion contenders Sheffield FC after discussing his future with Atkins.

“James came to me saying he wanted regular first team football,” explained the Town chief.

“He hadn’t featured a lot in the starting line-up this season and I couldn’t guarantee him a regular game.

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“I fully understand where he’s coming from. He’s been a great lad to have at the club and I don’t like to stand in the way of lads who want a regular game, so he leaves us with our thanks and best wishes for the future.”

Knowles, formerly with Burton Albion, joined Town following his release by the Brewers in the summer of 2010 and made 54 appearances, scoring five times.

Atkins has spoken to two players in the past week as he looks to strengthen and replenish his playing resources.

“I’d put seven day notices in on a couple of lads. One definitely won’t be coming but I think there’s a fair chance we can sign the other one and he’ll be a good acquisition for us.”

Kris Bowler’s red card in the 0-0 FA Trophy draw at Hednesford last Saturday was labelled “a joke” by Atkins and certainly video evidence of the game supports the view that referee Carl Dunn got his decision wrong.

Bowler had been booked for a first half foul and then in the 65th minute he broke on the left and went down under challenge from home full back Kyle Haynes.

Dunn yellow carded Bowler for the second time which meant an early bath.

“I was right behind the incident and the full back’s taken Kris’s legs so it’s a stonewall penalty. It was a joke decision and it’s come from a referee who’s had a poor game.

“He’s made a mistake but that could have cost us. We could have gone 1-0 up, had we done so I reckon we’d probably have won it.

“But we found ourselves with ten men which means you’re scratching about holding on. Kris didn’t deserve to be sent off.”

But Atkins was happy enough with the performance, which earned them a home replay last night (Wednesday), with the winners at home to Blue Square North leaders Hyde FC on November 26.

“It was a very pleasing performance. We passed the ball about quite well when we had it and created two or three good opportunities.

“Defensively, we were again very good against a side that likes to bomb the ball in at you.You’ve got to defend well against a side like Hednesford. Then we could have won it with Nathan Joynes’s header late on.”

Matlock return to league action on Saturday with a home derby against much-improved Worksop Town, unbeaten under new boss Simon Clark.

Atkins thought the Tigers would be among the favourites for promotion and thinks they are at last getting the results expected from their strong squad of players.

Then on Wednesday, it’s back to cup football as Mickleover Sports visit the Reynolds Stadium in the third Round of the Doodson Sport League Challenge Cup.