It seems to be a step forward then a step backwards for an inconsistent Matlock Town at present.
A 5-0 hammering of Sutton Coldfield Town on Saturday was followed by a disappointing 2-0 loss at Hednesford on Tuesday night, the Gladiators not having secured two successive wins since the opening week of the campaign.
Joint boss Glenn Kirkwood says the hard work must continue to find a solution to the problem.
“We need to improve and improve quickly if we are going to do anything this season,” Kirkwood admitted.
“But it’s a long season and we’ve got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and go again in the nextgame.”
He was speaking after the Hednesford defeat when the Gladiators were found wanting in an attackingsense.
“I thought we defended really well, the two goals were a bit unfortunate, the ball dropping kindly for Hednesford on both occasions.
“But we weren’t very good going forward, we lacked quality and didn’t show anything like the form we’re capable of.
“For the first 20 to 25 minutes of the secondhalf, Hednesford worked harder than us, they showed more aggression and that’s very disappointing.”
Matlock’s best league win under Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins’ tenure was against Sutton Coldfield, ironically in a game which saw leading marksman Shaun Harrad out with an ankle injury.
“Shaun won’t be far away when we play at Stalybridge on Saturday, it’s an old ankle injury that’s flaredup, it’s just seized up a little,” said Kirkwood.
“He wanted to give it a go at Hednesford but we decided against it, we didn’twant to risk him making it worse again.
“We played well on Saturday, it was good to get the goals and see other names on the scoresheet.
“Everyone worked hard and themargin of victory was deserved.
“It was also very pleasing and fitting to get the cleansheet on Adam Yates’ 400th appearance.
“That’s a fantastic achievement and he fully deserved the applause he got at the pre match presentation.”
Yates was presented with a watch by former skipper and defensive partner James Lukic who mase morethan 600 Matlock appearances.
Conversely two players made their debuts as substitutes against theRoyals.
Adam Etches (19) is on a month’s loan from Stockport County and scored Town’s fifth goal.
He ias anattacking midfielder who can play on either flank or in the number ten role just behind a central striker.
Nathan Whitehead (27) is another attacking midfielder who has been signed from Spalding United after previously appearing for Lincoln United.
“Adam was terrific on Saturday, he’s strong and has pace and worked hard for about an hour atHednesford, so we’re delighted with his start for us,” said the joint boss.
“Nathan’s big and strong with an eye for a goal and he’s hungry.
“We’ve had our eye on him for a few years and nearly brought him in during the summer.”
Saturday’s opponents are Stalybridge Celtic, who were relegated from National League North at the end of last season, and sit 21st in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier table.
Kirkwood added: “It’ll be a nice place to go to, but all we’re interested in is getting the win and we’ll have to be on top of ourgame.”