After a few days of reflection, Matlock Town boss Dave Frecklington says he stands by his post match comments in an MTFC TV interview following the disappointing home defeat by Witton Albion last Saturday.
The Matlock chief was scathing after a lacklustre show with Matlock losing 2-1, but despite the poor performance, had Craig Westcarr converted a 68th minute spot kick, they would have fought back from two goals down to earn a point.
On the previous Tuesday night, Matlock had secured their place in the top tier with a fine 3-1 victory at Marine, but last Saturday it appeared as if a lot of the team had already broken up for their summer holidays.
And Frecklington was highly critical of his team on Saturday, saying: “Not many fancied it at all today which is nothing short of a disgrace.”
“My mind’s made up on who I want and who I want to take forward, irrelevant of the next three results.”
His opinion was unchanged when he spoke on Tuesday night.
He said: “I always speak as it is and it doesn’t matter if my comments are harsh or not for it was very evident to see that our performance was so disappointing in many aspects.
“There wasn’t too much between the sides but the big difference was that Witton wanted to stamp their authority on the game much more than we did.
“We were waiting for things to happen and after the win at Marine it highlighted just how inconsistent we’ve been since the turn of the year.
“Both of Witton’s goals came from set pieces, the first from a long throw. People know where they have to be and who they’ve got to mark but the centre half is left free and scores with a back heel - that’s Sunday League!
“It shows a lack of responsibility and leadership and those kinds of things don’t sit well with me. The second goal was a free header on the goal line, we don’t get goals like that.
“I can accept it if it happens once, but four, five times is totally unacceptable. Take away the goals we’ve let in from set pieces, then we’re scarcely conceding from open play. That lack of desire to defend our goal saps the confidence of everyone.”
Frecklington is plainly looking for a positive response in the final three games of the season starting with their Easter programme which sees them travel to Bamber Bridge on Saturday before hosting Buxton on Easter Monday (3pm) in their final home match of the season.
Both the Brig and the Bucks currently have much to play for. Bamber Bridge will need all three points to have a realistic hope of beating the drop while equally Buxton will require nothing less than a victory if they are to beat Gainsborough Trinity for the final play-off spot.
But for Frecklington and the Matlock supporters, it’s what their side do.
He said: “Too many players have recently played their way out of my plans for next year, they were lads that I was confident were up to the mark.
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“You look at them and think yes at the start of the week, yes in midweek and then come Saturday they go missing.
“We’ve three games left and the frustrating thing is that I can’t possibly predict what sort of performance we’ll get and I agree with what the fans have been saying about it being a waste of peoples’ time and energy.
“Players have three games in which to prove themselves, I can’t accept losing when people haven’t given absolutely everything. I’m hoping the players will give us all the response we’ve been asking for and go out there with fire in their bellies.
“They’re good lads and they need to go out there and show people what they’re all about. The games at Bamber Bridge and at Stafford are just as important as the Buxton game but it would be nice to beat our local rivals on Monday and take four of the six points to finish our home campaign on a high.”
Matlock had concerns about their goalkeeping position after Saturday’s game with Ross Durrant limping off with an a groin injury at half time before replacement Jordan Pierrepont rolled an ankle towards the end of the game.
Both are expected to recover for the weekend but the Gladiators have permission to bring in a replacement if needed, with the transfer deadline having passed.