The message from Matlock boss Mark Hume to his squad ahead of the Easter programme is clear cut - ‘We need some results.’
In spite of a greatly improved showing at league leaders Blyth Spartans last Saturday, the Gladiators lost 1-0, their fourth successive defeat.
Matlock host Skelmersdale United on Saturday before the Easter Monday derby at Buxton when Hume and his assistant Scott Maxfield make their first return to the Silverlands, having been previous employees of the Bucks.
Hume said: “It was much better Blyth, I can’t criticise the lads at all, they worked hard and gave us all the response we wanted apart from getting the result.
“Our game plan was working. Some people were perhaps surprised Adam Yates was at left back, but they had two six foot wingers and Craig Nelthorpe moved into midfield and had a good game.
“We went with a solid back four, we didn’t need the full-backs bombing on.”
Blyth’s winner came shortly after their striker Dan Maguire had been sent off for an elbow on Tom Burgin who also did not complete the game.
“The sending off worked out worse for us,” Hume said.
“Tom would have cleared the ball had he still been on and given a few more years’ experience George (Willis) wouldn’t have come for it.
“I don’t like to see players getting sent off, but it was the right decision, it wasn’t right though that the Blyth fans called him a cheat with blood pouring from his nose.
“I felt sorry for the lads and the fans, we had a couple of good chances towards the end which we didn’t take, and although we were unlucky there’s no excuses from me, it was a fourth defeat on the trot and that needs to change.”
The manager added that the three Easter games (Matlock travel to basement club Ramsbottom United on Thursday) are ‘really important’.
He added: “Hopefully we’ll go into these games with a degree of confidence, but the players have done this to me before.
“One good performance doesn’t paper over the cracks. I’m not deceived by it. I need a run of good games from them.
“Good sides like Darlington put a shift in, week in, week out. We need to be looking to win two or three games on the bounce and o keep the run going collect a draw if we can’t win it.”
Two new faces arrived last week with Gresley’s top scorer Jordan Ball signing on the dotted line and ‘doing well in a difficult game’ at Blyth according to Hume.
Eighteen-year-old defender and Chesterfield U21 captain Ashley Bartle, a Matlock lad and former Highfields School pupil, joined him on a dual registration arrangement, while striker Jake Orrell has been recalled by Chesterfield.
The Gladiators expect a further signing before tonight’s (Thursday’s) transfer deadline and Jack Siddall is being recalled from loan at Ossett Town.