For both Matlock Town and Saturday’s opponents North Ferriby United, it is a case of righting the wrongs from last weekend as both teams went down to bad defeats.
While the Gladiators were losing 2-0 at home to Ashton United, Ferriby fell to their heaviest defeat in 20 years as Stocksbridge Park Steels chalked up seven goals without reply.
Matlock will be desperate to halt a slide into the bottom half of the division which has seen them win just one of their last ten league games, but it was the manner of the latest defeat which upset both manager Mark Atkins and the supporters.
“The players’ attitude wasn’t right, there was no spark, it was as if they were going through the motions,” he said.
“It was a great chance for us to get our season going again but we fluffed it.
“I was very disappointed by the way we approached the game and how we started it. We needed to be on the front foot from the off but we allowed Ashton to do that.
“Our defending in the first half was atrocious, we were soon two goals down.
“While the first goal was a good strike, we let him go through us and the second from the free kick was an absolute disgrace with the poor pass and the foul. To be 2-0 down in a game where I thought we’d got a great chance of three points was very disappointing, but I’d warned the players beforehand that we faced a very tough game as Ashton always give 100 per cent and have some very good players.
“The good thing is that we have the chance to put things right. What’s gone has gone and while I’m not forgetting what happened against Ashton, we must strive to do better in our next game.”
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Atkins used a friendly game at Rainworth on Tuesday, which the hosts won 3-2, to run the rule over another trialist and give game time to Chris Bettney, who managed 45 minutes after a rib injury, and to striker Liam Wilkin, who was signed from Baris NCEL Premier Division outfit Winterton Rangers on Friday.
Wilkin came on for the final 15 minutes last weekend and scored the opener at Rainworth, where he played for the first half.
Central defender Laurence Gaughan also featured, but cannot start a competitive fixture until international clearance comes through, having played for Galway in Ireland.
The 21 year old skippered the Irish under 17s and 18s side and played alongside future international Gary Breen, winning two caps at under 19s level. He has been with the Liverpool Academy before moving to Celtic.
Atkins is also hopeful of doing more business before the weekend, but is pleased with his two most recent acquisitions.
“Liam did well in the friendly at Armthorpe getting a couple of goals, so we’re seeing what he can do at this level.
“He came on in the Ashton game and showed endeavour and desire which had been lacking.
“I spoke to Laurence in pre-season but he went to Ireland. I tried again in December but he went on trial to Mansfield.
“He’s six feet two inches, good on the ball and capable of playing in central defence or midfield so that gives more competition in two areas. A loan player turned us down this week but I’ve seven days in on another player.
“If it comes off he’ll add strength, something I feel we need at the moment as at present we tend to lie down and die if things aren’t going our way.”