Gladiators count injury cost

Action from Matlock v Whitby on Saturday.
Action from Matlock v Whitby on Saturday.

Matlock Town’s injury jinx struck again this week following a bruising League Cup quarter-final clash against Farsley AFC.

No fewer than six players who featured on Tuesday will have to be assessed ahead of Saturday’s long trip to Kendal Town.

The one everyone is talking about is top scorer Lewis McMahon who, in his first start since sustaining ankle ligament damage against Borrowash Victoria back on January 29, was pole-axed by a horrendous challenge from Farsley full-back Matt Dempsey early in the second-half.

Dempsey was booked rather than ordered off after opposing players squared up to each other.

Matlock boss Mark Atkins was seething during the game and still angry afterwards.

He said: “That challenge on Lewis was disgraceful and a straight red card in anyone’s book.

“In fact he’s really lucky it’s not a bad break and a career-ending injury. He’s got stud marks around his hip bone and it’s swelled up badly so I really can’t see him being ready for Kendal.”

Other injuries collected by Matlock players during the game included goalkeeper Jon Kennedy (leg), Massiah McDonald (ankle), Micky Harcourt (hamstring), Laurence Gaughan (back) and Gareth Davies (knee).

And, just to add to their problems, skipper James Lukic will serve a one-game ban following his harsh and controversial dismissal at Hednesford a couple of weeks ago.

“We’ll have to wait until training on Thursday and see how everyone is,” said Atkins.

“While I was delighted to win the game and reach another semi-final, when it got to the hour point I was chiefly concerned with getting as many players off the pitch at the end fit and well.

“We’d played some excellent football in the first-half and created two good chances to score two very good goals.

“We’d passed the ball around well and I said to the lads at half-time that their only way back was to try and get at us physically.

“We didn’t play well in the second-half but did enough to deservedly win the game.”

Atkins is now keen to see his side pick up three points at Kendal Town on Saturday having drawn their last three games.

The latest was a 0-0 stalemate at home to Whitby last Saturday, and Matlock will be hoping for a three-point return against the struggling Lake District side who are in 20th spot but 14 points adrift of the Gladiators with two games in hand.

Atkins said: “Kendal are fighting for their lives so we can expect a tough game up there, but even though we may have a weakened side we want to keep our unbeaten run going.”

On the draw with Whitby, Atkins added: “Over the 90 minutes a draw was just about fair.

“Both sides struggled to find the level of performance they wanted but we had the two best chances with Brad Grayson’s one-one-ones.

“We were better in the opening 20-odd minutes of the second-half than we’d been in the first. Then the game opened up too much for my liking but we got a clean sheet which is a positive.”

Matlock are then back at the Reynolds Stadium on Tuesday against AFC Fylde.

l The Gladiators now know their opponents in the Derbyshire Senior Cup final. Ilkeston FC beat Alfreton Town 2-0 on Tuesday to set up the final at Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium on Tuesday, April 30.