Linnets provide a stern test

Matlock Town’s fine record at their Reynolds Stadium headquarters this term looks set to be given a stern examination for the second successive home game against another in form side on Saturday.

Worksop Town were the visitors on New Year’s Day but went home with a 1-0 defeat, their first reverse in 13 league matches.

Now it’s the turn of King’s Lynn Town, whose 3-1 home win over Buxton last weekend was their fourth on the trot in the league which put them firmly in the play-off picture.

And the newly promoted Linnets, last season’s First Division South champions, will journey north from West Norfolk with revenge on their minds. The Gladiators inflicted their highest league defeat of the season back in September when a Lewis McMahon brace and strikes from both Danny Holland and Daryll Thomas gave Matlock an impressive 4-0 win at The Walks.

“I’m expecting a very difficult game and while we won very comfortably at their place, I’m sure it will be a much tighter game on Saturday,” warned Matlock boss Mark Atkins.

Only title favorites Chorley have won at the Reynolds Stadium so far in a season when Matlock have let in just eight goals in their 13 home league games to date, keeping seven clean sheets in the process.

Atkins added: “Our home form has been fantastic and obviously the aim must be to continue in the same vein.”

“But again we must show the desire and the work rate to keep our great home run going.”

Atkins believes all is still not lost as far as the play off places are concerned despite his side now sitting in 13th place and eight points behind fifth-placed AFC Fylde. The Gladiators, however, have games in hand on most of those in the top five.

Atkins said: “There’s nearly half the season left and plenty of games for everyone to make their mark.

“Two or three wins on the trot could take us right back up the table and right back into contention.”

Atkins though will know that the goals supply will have to be increased for his troops have netted a meagre 36 goals in their 27 league outings.

Only Buxton, Witton Albion and the bottom two of Stafford Rangers and Droylsden have scored fewer goals than the Gladiators.

Both leading scorer Danny Holland and Shaun Tuton, who missed the Grantham clash through suspension, will be available to face the Linnets when Atkins will have to decide on his favoured front two.

Last season’s top scorer McMahon and Thomas have been the striking duo in the Worksop and Grantham matches.

Meanwhile, former Matlock striker Massiah McDonald will not be in the King’s Lynn side as he is currently serving a seven match suspension.