THe wait for a second league away win for Matlock RFC 1sts ended on Saturday thanks to a hard-earned but deserved 24-21 victory at Bedford Athletic.
Last week, coach Alan Johnson spoke of his and the players’ desire to put an end to the disappointing away form that has dogged their inconsistent Midlands One East season and the injury-racked team duly delivered.
Matlock tries were scored by Henri Packard, Ben Neville, George Whittaker and George Stephenson while Tom Morton kicked two conversions as the side maintained their fifth place position in the league.
Alan Johnson told the Mercury: “We had to make changes beforehand due to more injuries in the backs.
“We’ve been decimated in the backs really but the attitude was brilliant beforehand, very positive and upbeat. Yet 12 minutes in, we were 10-0 down through a very soft try and a poor penalty.
“But we got two good tries and started to make them look very average, which they weren’t, so that’s credit to the way we were playing. Bedford came back, but we did well and they scored a try with the last play which made it look closer than it was.
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“We were very positive beforehand. We tried one or two different practices during training which they were very supportive of and took it on board.
“We asked them to come out fighting after recent setbacks on the road and they did the job that was asked of them.
“To get the win was a relief to them, I think, and it was to me too.”
He continued: “We’ve managed to get that monkey off our shoulders and now we have to look to win the two home games we’ve got coming up, starting on Saturday.
“The players all did well but I was particularly with the likes of Robert Goodall, in the centre rather than his usual position on the wing. He did really well until he had to come off at half-time and then Luke Howard came on for him and did very well too.
“He put in two or three really good tackles and was punching above his weight so it’s good to see players coming in, taking their chances in the firsts and showing me what they can do.”
Finally, there was more praise for the approach of the team during a tricky period.
“The attitude is so good, they do whatever I ask of them, they just get on with it for the good of the team. They came out fighting after a rocky patch and they got their rewards.”
This Saturday, Matlock entetain Towcestrians (2.15pm start).