Matlock Town’s joint boss Glenn Kirkwood insists the Gladiators were in fine form on Tuesday night despite losing 4-0 at home to Mansfield Town side in the build-up to the 2017-18 EVO-STIK League season, writes Ian Richardson.
Kirkwood hailed their performance against a strong first team squad from the League Two club at the DCJ Arena as “excellent” after the Gladiators agreed to a late request from the Stags to host a friendly.
Kirkwood, who saw his side finish the game with ten men after the 58th minute sending off of midfielder Callum Lloyd with the score at 1-0 before the visitors bagged two late goals in the final three minutes, was happy with their night’s work.
Speaking ahead of trips to Worksop Town on Saturday and Heanor Town on Tuesday, Kirkwood said: “It’s not very often the bookies get it wrong, Mansfield are favourites to win League Two. I thought we were unfortunate to be a goal down at half time, we played really well and held our own against a top, top side.
“We matched them for long periods, they were always going to be fitter than us, and in the end the scoreline was a bit unfair. We’ve got a lot of good players who are showing what they can do and we’re more than happy with the way things are going.”
Joint manager Craig Hopkins is already confident about their prospects for the new season after taking sole charge for last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Burton Albion.
He said: “We played really well against a strong team containing several players who have played in the Championship so there’s a lot of positives to take from the game and our performance. We scored two good goals and even in the second half we created chances so it was very pleasing.”