Mark Atkins believes his players hit the highs and the lows this past week as a scintillating performance and result against table topping Chorley was followed by a lacklustre display and defeat at midtable Nantwich on Tuesday night.
The Nantwich defeat could leave a number of players anxiously waiting to see if they have retained their places when Atkins names his team to face new league leaders Northwich Victoria at the Reynolds Stadium on Saturday.
“Certain factors were to blame but, as good as we were on Saturday, we were bad on Tuesday night,” Atkins snapped.
“There was no desire, no commitment, players were ducking out of tackles and the saving grace was that the back four did ever so well to keep us in it. We had experienced players doing daft things like Chris Bettney handling the ball for the penalty.
“We gave the ball away so much it was ridiculous. The fact we lost is because it was our own fault. There’s no excuses, they were clearly the better side.”
Atkins was also critical of his side’s preparation for the game, although he conceded that the late withdrawal of full back Micky Harcourt was not helpful. Harcourt felt sick and dizzy in the changing room after the team sheet had been handed in. Liam King slotted in at full back with Kris Bowler receiving an unexpected recall in the engine room.
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“The last thing I said to the players on Saturday was don’t be late on Tuesday. Four of them were late and it disrupts everything. Things like these matter, they could have given me a bell to warn me.
“I’m trying to run things as professionally as I can. Three lads were sat at home who would have died to have been here tonight. Turning up late shows a lack of respect to their fellow team mates and the management!
“Losing Micky was a big, big blow but we should have had enough to come here and get a good result. You’re only as good as your last game and tonight we were poor. It looks like I’ll have a lot of thinking to do and decisions to make before the Northwich game.”
It was all so different against Chorley as Nathan Joynes’s first ever hat-trick followed Bettney’s superb opener to delight most of the 441 crowd.
“We were excellent on Saturday, we dominated from start to finish and took our chances. When you’re 2-0 up at half time instead of still level at 0-0, life’s so much easier. Everything went the way we wanted, we used the two wingers and Nathan deserved his goals due to his fine performance.”
Clearly Atkins and Matlock’s fans will want a Chorleyesque display to banish the memory of the After the Lord Mayor’s Show on Tuesday, which brought no new injury worries.