Trial players impress boss

Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager
Mark Atkins, Matlock Town manager

Times, or the squad, could be changing at Matlock Town with one departure and a temporary replacement coming in last Friday.

Then two trialists impressed boss Mark Atkins in a 4-1 friendly win at Armthorpe on Tuesday night, with Atkins keen to bring them to the Reynolds Stadium.

“I’d like them to join us and hopefully they’ll come and I can speak to them more on Thursday,” said Atkins who viewed the game as useful.

“The likes of Ben Algar, Craig Nelthorpe and TJ Nightingale got another 90 minutes in and we had the chance to look at a couple of lads. If they decide to come, they should be involved against Ashton on Saturday”.

One of the trialists was a central defender, the other a striker who came on for the second half and found the net twice.

Atkins felt Matlock were not sharp enough in the Kendal 18-yard box in their 2-1 loss there last weekend.

“We played very well, we kept and passed the ball very well but when we needed to hurt Kendal we weren’t clinical enough.

“But I was certainly encouraged by our performance.

“The first half was the best we’d played for some time.”

Atkins was critical of referee Matthew Corlett, whose decision for the second Kendal goal ultimately dashed any Matlock hopes of at least a point. The official allowed Kendal to take a quick free kick after he had stopped play and was lecturing Craig Nelthorpe.

“That was a joke,” he fumed. “And who scores the goal? None other than the lad Craig would have been marking. Ben Hunter scored a cracking goal but it came too late, though I can’t fault the lads for the way they went about their work. We took the game to Kendal in the first half and were very bright.”

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The departure from the club is popular midfielder Steve Warne, who has had three spells at Matlock spanning eight years.

Six foot one inch Harry Winter, signed on a dual registration agreement with his current club Hyde FC, replaced him and had a promising game at Kendal.

“We’d had a couple of bids from Belper that didn’t meet our valuation but they came back with an increased offer which the club accepted.

“I told Steve I didn’t want him to go but he could talk to Belper if he wanted.

“He did and told me he hadn’t been doing that well this season and felt stale.

“He’s been a great servant to the club and never a moment’s trouble and he goes with our best wishes.”

Atkins had watched Winter at his previous club FC Halifax.

“I spoke with Hyde manager Gary Lowe about him.

“He’s coming back from injury and we’ve got him on a game to game basis at present.

“He did very well at Kendal, showed good quality on the ball, he bossed the game and got us playing in the first half.

“Hopefully Hyde won’t want him back for a while, and he can play for us which will help him as well.”

With just one win in nine league outings, Matlock must be looking for maximum points against the Robins, who beat them 3-0 on the season’s opening day on Tameside.

Injured trio Chris Bettney, Gareth Davies and Kris Bowler are all unlikely to return.

Atkins thanked the fans who followed Matlock to Kendal.

“It’s a long way to go and chatting to them afterwards it was good to hear them say they thought we’d played well and deserved something from the game.

“It’s important we all stick together so we can get those wins and be able to relax that little bit.”