Key man Massiah gets a costly ban

A narrow defeat and a three-match ban for striker Massiah McDonald has left Matlock Town boss Mark Atkins a frustrated man this week.

He saw his side narrowly beaten by a late goal at Chorley last Saturday when he felt key refereeing decisions did not go the Gladiators’ way, this coming after he learned that McDonald was to serve a three match ban after collecting an astonishing 15 bookings this season.

Losing McDonald for a third time this term through disciplinary reasons is a blow the Gladiators could have well done without.

The striker has scored 15 goals in 27 appearances and is just four goals adrift of top marksman Lewis McMahon.

“For a player to have 15 bookings is very disappointing and it should never happen,” Atkins said.

“He was told when he reached ten bookings that he needed to settle himself down and to have him suspended for six games is simply not good enough.

“It’s a personal thing for Massiah but he’s got to learn not to give referees the opportunity to give him a yellow card, and in general we’ve had too many silly sendings off this season which can hurt us with a small squad.”

McDonald’s latest ban began in Wednesday’s (6th) home meeting with FC United of Manchester and he’ll also miss the away games at promoti0n-chasing Hednesford on Saturday and Ashton United next Wednesday.

Atkins felt aggrieved after Saturday’s loss at Chorley, sealed by an 88th minute winner.

He said: “We more than held our own. We had as much of the game as them but overall we were let down by two big decisions.

“In the first-half their lad’s gone in on Massiah McDonald with a two-footed tackle which should have been a definite red card, then later the player that was booked in the melee handles a through ball which would have left Massiah with a real scoring chance and is not given a second card.

“But I was pleased with the determination shown by the players. The result was very hard on them and it gets tough towards the end when the same lads are having to play in every game.

“But we’ve got to get on with it and it took a very good goal to beat us.”