Matlock Town’s joint boss Craig Hopkins says it is time for the Gladiators squad to stand up and be counted following a below par opening to their Evo-Stik League campaign.

With 16 games played, Matlock lie in a lowly 18th spot following their eighth league defeat of the season at Stalybridge Celtic last weekend and midweek matches which saw Stalybridge beaten on Merseyside by Marine, who host the Gladiators this weekend.

The Mariners’ 3-1 win meant that Stalybridge have lost every one of their seven away fixtures but have collected 16 points from nine home outings.

This is further evidence of an unpredictable league when on the day, Stalybridge looked to be the best side Matlock had faced this season despite the Tameside outfit being below them in the league standings.

“They were a really good side although it seems unbelievable they struggle so badly away from home,” said Hopkins. “They were better than us although 4-1 flattered them. But they scored some great goals, the first one for example being a great overhead kick from Liam Dickenson who probably won’t hit another one like that for a very long time. They got in quality balls from wide areas, their wide players showing us what we should have been doing. Their left back must have put in five or six quality balls. Stalybridge moved the ball well, we didn’t.”

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