Three in a row delights atkins

Mark Atkins
Mark Atkins
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Mark Atkins praised the character in his squad after they came from behind to earn a third win on the trot at Stafford on Saturday.

The Gladiators conceded the opening goal within 13 seconds of the start but recovered to earn a comfortable 3-1 victory as a Daryll Thomas penalty and a quickfire brace from Lavell White saw Matlock home in a second-half they completely dominated.

Atkins said: “To concede so early was disappointing, particularly after we’d set our stall out to be tight in those opening minutes.

“But we showed great character to fight back and in the end we won handsomely.

“I thought we did okay in the first-half but we had a chat at half-time, there were a few things that we thought we could take advantage of, and we did. We pushed on and Lavell scored two great goals, the second being a fine team goal.”

White has improved as a player greatly from last season and received a glowing report from Atkins.

“Lavell came to us towards the end of last season which was a difficult time for us all at the club but he’s stuck at it,” he said.

“He had a good pre-season and has been outstanding for us so far this campaign. He’s a big outlet for us, we all know he’s got pace but now he’s starting to show some quality and getting the goals we knew he had in his locker.”

Atkins also praised striker Danny Holland who would probably have received the man-of-the-match nomination at Stafford had it not been for White’s brace which turned the match firmly in Matlock’s favour.

“Danny’s led the line brilliantly, stepping up to the plate with Lewis McMahon being out injured. He’s worked his socks off, helping out in midfield and coming back to do some sterling defensive work and he had a magnificent game again on Saturday.”

Saturday’s results saw Matlock in a healthy fourth spot in the table, but Atkins stressed that feet must remain firmly on the ground.

He said: “Everyone’s working hard for one another and the spirit in the dressing room is fantastic. But nobody at the club will get carried away for there’s still a very long way to go.

“We’ve got to retain the consistency we’ve been showing recently. The players we’ve brought in have added experience and quality to the squad and we must continue to work hard and realise that there are no easy games in this league.”

Matlock were due to entertain Barwell in the league last night (Wednesday), but will have a free Saturday this weekend as their scheduled FA Trophy opponents Hinckley United have been wound up.

Tuesday then sees them face an awkward trip to second placed Skelmersdale United, providing the Lancashire club don’t require an FA Trophy replay.

Atkins said: “It’s a tough place to go to, especially at night when lads have been at work all day. Skelmersdale have had a great three or four years and are doing very well this season so we know we face a hard game but it should be a good match and one we’re looking forward to.”

For a report on Wednesday’s game against Barwell, see our website at www.matlockmercury.co.uk.