Can Marine win be a stepping stone for Gladiators?

Matlock Town v Corby, joint manager Craig Hopkins
Matlock Town v Corby, joint manager Craig Hopkins

Craig Hopkins wants Matlock Town’s victory at Marine last weekend to be the stepping stone to a better set of results in the coming weeks.

The Gladiators’ joint boss had urged the Town players to be stand up and be counted in the build up to the trip to Crosby, and he was full of praise for the Matlock performance.

The visitors went behind to a ‘freak’ Marine goal but kept their composure and focus to build on an otherwise good start to the contest to turn the game around through a Tyrell Waite equaliser in the first half and a winner from skipper Adam Yates 16 minutes from time.

“The lads did what was required to a tee,” said a happy Hopkins.

“We spoke about what I’d said in the lead-up to the game beforehand and there was a real desire from the lads to turn things round. The determination was there and this must just be the start for us.”

The concession of an unexpected 16th minute goal was compounded when Waite struck the angle of bar and post shortly afterwards with the home goalkeeper well beaten. But Waite, in the best performance of his loan spell from Boston United so far, was undeterred as his excellent run and finish brought about Matlock’s 31st minute equaliser.

Hopkins said: “It was a freak goal and then Tyrell hit the woodwork, we also missed a couple of chances from corners.

“Their goal was a kick in the teeth for us, it’s not the first time it’s happened to us this season but we didn’t let it affect us.

“The lads deserve great credit for the way they kept on going and we were the better team overall as Marine’s manager said afterwards.”

An attractive home derby game with Stafford Rangers is in prospect on Saturday, a game which should attract a good gate to the DCJ group Arena. Before that Matlock had an Integro League Cup clash at First Division South Carlton Town last night (Wednesday).

The hope is now that the Gladiators can end their inconsistent form so far this term by building on their win at Marine.

“That result has to be a stepping stone for us,” said Hopkins.

“Now we have a massive game against a very good Stafford side. Last Saturday everyone knew their jobs and knew what they had to do and it’s got to be exactly the same this week.

“We didn’t go to Marine looking for just a point, we went there with the intention of bringing back maximum points, and we’ll be wanting to do the same against Stafford.

“It’s always nice to win, especially away from home, where results have been disappointing so far. But we know we can do it and it’s a matter of going out there and doing it consistently.”

There have been three more departures during the past week but Matlock are expected to announce a new signing ahead of the Stafford visit.

Niall Flint may be lining up against Matlock on Saturday having moved to Stafford following a brief six weeks stay with the Gladiators.

Jamie Yates has moved to First Division South Sheffield FC while striker Tyler Blake has returned to parent club Mansfield Town.

“Niall’s had limited opportunities and it’s just not worked out for him,” said Hopkins.

“Jamie had an operation in July and has found it difficult to break into the team. He needs to play on a regular basis and a move to Sheffield is a decent move for him.

“He’ll stay at Matlock looking after our Academy. He’s doing a great job and we’re very lucky to have him.

“Things haven’t worked out for Tyler as everyone hoped. He’s a great lad, All three go with our thanks and best wishes for the future.”

Meanwhile Matlock could be left without a fixture on Saturday, 4th November unless other fixtures are moved around.

The Gladiators were due to host Nantwich Town but the Dabbers won their FA Cup replay at Kettering Town in midweek to earn a First Round proper tie at Stevenage Borough.