Saturday’s thrilling 3-2 home win over Stafford Rangers sees Matlock in good spirits as they head north up the A6 to the Silverlands on Boxing Day for their festive derby clash.
Results at the weekend saw Matlock climb above the Bucks who were leading at Warrington before conceding two late goals. The Gladiators are now in seventh spot.
Manager Dave Frecklington was naturally delighted with another home win, their seventh on the spin in league and cup.
“We knew they could cause us problems and we didn’t defend all that well in the first half,” Frecklington admitted.
“If we could keep clean sheets then I think we’d win nearly every football match because we have goals in us.
“I said to the players at half time, if you defend well you’ll win the game. They keep coming back. I’m delighted for the boys and also very proud of them.”
Frecklington brought in Craig Westcarr for Luke Hinsley in his attack and Westcarr repaid Frecklington’s faith in him with a brace of goals, his second equaliser being an outstanding effort, created for him by Hinsley’s knock down after Hinsley had rfeplaced Jordan Chapell four minutes earlier.
“Westy diod ever so well and we’d practised that previously in training and it’s great when it comes off,” he added.
“It was a tough decision to leave out Luke and Lee Beevers, but they couldn’t make training on Thursday and it’s the way we work.
“Sometimes it can trip you up, other times it can work out. Family and work have to come first sometimes but they both understand.
“To have three strikers of the calibre of Westy, Marshy (Marcus Marshall) and Luke is fantastic.
“They’d be waxing lyrical about Westy’s second goal if it was on Match Of The Day, the quality ball in from Taron Hare, the great knock down by Luke and the quality of Westy’s finish.”
It sets up an exciting derby at the Silverlands.
“It’s our first derby and we want to win it, the lads will be fired up for it and will want to give a really good account of themselves,” said Frecklington. “Having lost in the way we did at South Shields, the lads have responded magnificently to win three on the trot in the league and make the semi finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup. Buxton are a good side and we know the threat they possess, but we’ll be going there looking for the victory.”
Craig King, Hinsley and Jamie Jackson could all be facing their former club while Buxton could include former Matlock defender Nico Degirolamo and midfielder Josh Meade.
Nathan Whitehead looks likely to be sidelined for four to six weeks after picking up a knee injury in training but Tom Davie made a brief appearance against Stafford and Michael Williams is moving much more easily now and a return could be imminent.
The Stafford game attracted the Premier Division’s best crowd of the day with 493 turning up on what is traditionally a poor day for attendances on the last Saturday before Christmas.
“I’d like to thank the fans who were once again magnificent. It’s a two way thing and hopefully we can keep on getting the right results. That was a massive three points and having the crowd behind us really helped,” added Frecklington.
Matlock’s home Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final against Alfreton Town will take place on Tuesday 8 January (7.45 pm).