Star striker McDonald released by Gladiators

Massiah McDonald
Massiah McDonald

Matlock Town have announced their retained list of contracted players for next season, but one prominent name is not on it.

Striker Massiah McDonald has been released just four months after moving to Matlock from Worksop Town following a successful loan spell with the Gladiators.

News of McDonald’s departure came out on the Nottingham-based player’s Twitter account, and after a difficult year financially, tough decisions have had to be taken by Matlock manager Mark Atkins and club officials.

In a statement from Matlock chief executive Keith Brown it was confirmed that financial considerations were behind the decision to release their second top scorer from last term.

Said Brown: “Massiah could have been retained but the terms the club would have been required to meet were such that it would have placed too much financial pressure on the club.”

McDonald was an instant success, playing an integral part in the Gladiators’ memorable FA Trophy run which included shock wins against Conference North Stalybridge Celtic and more remarkably last season’s Conference Premier champions Mansfield Town in a replay at the Reynolds Stadium.

Both games ended 2-1 in Matlock’s favour with McDonald bagging crucial late deciders on both occasions.

He scored 18 goals in total, which could have been a good deal more had he not spent eight games banned in a campaign which saw him booked an extraordinary 21 times.

Brown added: “Massiah played very very well in many matches and we’ll remember for a very long time his performances against Mansfield Town, but we have to keep in mind the club’s financial stability so we’ve decided to release him.

“He’s now a free agent, we hope he’ll find himself a good club and we wish him all the best for the future.” .

On his tweet, McDonald said he was leaving a good club.

It read: “Nothing but respect for Mark (Atkins) and the Matlock players, a great bunch of lads, gonna miss that club.

“Thank you to everyone associated with Matlock, management, board and fans.”

Despite McDonald’s departure, several other key players have been retained by boss Mark Atkins.

They include fans’ Player of the Year Adam Yates, Players’ Player of the Year Micky Harcourt, Young Player of the Year Joe Leesley and top scorer Lewis McMahon, who all picked up awards at the club’s presentation night last Friday.

Popular defender Oscar Radford has also been retained, along with energetic midfielder James Ashmore, goalkeeper Jon Kennedy, and skipper James Lukic who has more than 600 appearances under his belt.

Meanwhile, younger players who have emerged through the reserve and under-19 squads such as Matlock-based James Travis and Matt Andrews and Ashbourne striker Dave Edge, who scored in both of Matlock’s final games of the campaign, will report for training with the first team after the summer break, one which will no doubt see Atkins working hard to rebuild his squad.

It has been confirmed that the 2013/2014 Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division season will commence on Saturday, August 17, with fixtures scheduled to be released on Wednesday, July 17.