A 15th placed finish for Matlock Town despite two big wins to finish the season off has to be rated as disappointing after the Gladiators had qualified for the play-offs in the last two campaigns with fourth and fifth final positions.

Joint interim boss Adam Yates cited contributory factors but says
basically that Matlock have not been good enough.
“I came in late in 2023 and since then we lost Margo, (Jonathan
Margetts), games were called off but I don’t want to make excuses, as a
squad and a team we weren’t good enough, we could have put
increased demand on one another, the league table doesn’t lie. Now we
have to learn from what’s happened this season and look forward to a
better time next year.”

Yates and Mark Atkins took over as joint interim managers following the
resignation of Martin Carruthers in late March and had eight games at
the helm, winning three and losing five. Yates believes he and Atkins
have done well as everyone awaits news of a new Gladiators Chairman
and a new permanent manager.
“ On the whole I feel we did a decent job, Mark and myself spoke most
days and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed those eight games. I’ve been both in
and around it as I’ve been playing, it’s so different playing to managing
and I’ve tried to juggle those different responsibilities and being with
Mark allowed me to do it. I think we achieved what we wanted to, we
brought the squad together and I think we kicked on after getting the
point or points we needed,”
The Gladiators at last gave their fans something to shout about by
beating play off hopefuls Ashton United 5-1 and relegated Bradford
(Park Avenue) 5-2 in their final two home games which begs the
question why it took so long to hit form.
“We’d got the monkey off our back, we brought in a couple of “fresh”
faces, Nat Crofts and Olly Clark came in and the lads bought in to what
we wanted from them. The pressure was off a little bit, we looked
fantastic going forward and Liam Hardy coming in was massive for us, I
think he played most of the games and he looked fitter and hungrier as
the games went on.”
Yates decided himself that he would not play in the Bradford game.

Ian Richardson 01 May 2024