The Gladiators joint boss, pictured, had urged the Town players to stand up and be counted in the build-up to the trip to Crosby and he was full of praise for a performance that resulted in a 2-1 win and three vital point to start climbing the table again.
The visitors went behind to a “freak” Mariners goal but kept their composure and focus to build on an otherwise good start to the contest, turning the game around through a Tyrell Waite equaliser in the first half and a winner from skipper Adam Yates 16 minutes from time.
“The lads did what was required to a tee,” said a happy Hopkins ahead of the weekend's action. “We spoke about what I’d said in the lead up to the game beforehand and there was a real desire from the lads to turn things round. The determination was there and this must just be the start for us.”
The concession of an unexpected 16th minute goal was compounded when Waite struck the angle of bar and post shortly afterwards with the home goalkeeper well beaten. But Waite, in his best performance of his loan spell from Boston United so far, was undeterred as his excellent run and finish brought about Matlock’s 31st minute equaliser.
The Gladiators boss said: “It was a freak goal and then Tyrell hit the woodwork. We also missed a couple of chances from corners. Their goal was a kick in the teeth for us, it’s not the first time it’s happened to us this season but we didn’t let it affect us. The lads deserve great credit for the way they kept on going and we were the better team overall as Marine’s manager said afterwards.”
An attractive home derby game with Stafford Rangers is in prospect on Saturday, a game which should attract a good gate to the DCJ Group Arena. The hope of Hopkins and joint manager Glen Kirkwood now is that the Gladiators can end their inconsistent form so far this term by building on their win at Marine.
Hopkins declared: “That result has to be a stepping stone for us. Now we have a massive game against a very good Stafford side. Last Saturday everyone knew their jobs and knew what they had to do and it’s got to be exactly the same this week.
"We didn’t go to Marine looking for just a point, we went there with the intention of bringing back maximum points, we’ll be wanting to do the same against Stafford. It’s always nice to win, especially away from home, where results have been disappointing so far. But we know we can do it and it’s a matter of going out there and doing it consistently.”
Matlock prepared for the weekend by making progress in the Integro League Cup following a penalty shoot out success in the first round at EVO-STIK League South Carlton Town on Wednesday night. Jordan Wilson headed Carlton in front on 23 minutes, a carbon copy goal from substitute Adam Yates levelling the game up on 59 minutes. With the scoreline locked at 1-1 Matlock kept their nerve in the penalty knockout, winning 4-1.
Full-back Micky Harcourt returned for a second spell to make his second debut at Carlton while there have been three more departures during the past week. Niall Flint may be lining up against Matlock on Saturday having moved to Stafford following a brief six weeks stay with the Gladiators. Jamie Yates has moved to EVO-STIK League Division South Sheffield FC while striker Tyler Blake has returned to parent club Mansfield Town.
An undeterred Hopkins added: “Niall’s had limited opportunities and it’s just not worked out for him. Jamie had an operation in July and has found it difficult to break into the team. He needs to play on a regular basis and a move to Sheffield is a decent move for him. He’ll stay at Matlock looking after our Academy, he’s doing a great job and we’re very lucky to have him. Things haven’t worked out for Tyler as everyone hoped. He’s a great lad, All three go with our thanks and best wishes for the future.”
* Matlock have been left without a fixture on Saturday November 4 when they were due to host Nantwich Town who are now heading to Stevenage Borough in the first round proper of the Emirates FA Cup tie at Stevenage Borough on the day after beating Kettering Town 1-0 in their Tuesday night replay.
Image courtesy of @Matlock_TownFC/Twitter
Follow us: @evostikleague on Twitter | Facebook www.facebook.com/evostikleague