Matlock boss Mark Atkins admitted that striker Shaun Tuton’s departure up the A6 to rivals Buxton was a huge blow.
Tuton quit the Gladiators for a second time, just seven months after rejoining them from Belper Town, after originally moving to Christ Church Meadow in October 2012.
“It’s something we obviously didn’t want to happen.
“We wanted to keep him and build our team around him,” said Atkins.
Tuton, renowned for his infectious enthusiasm and tremendous workrate, was the perfect foil for Matlock’s top-scorer Danny Holland last season.
He hit eight goals in 19 appearances in his second spell at the club.
Atkins added: “We offered Shaun a contract in February and he said he wanted to think about it.
“Then during the summer the contract was still there for him on increased terms.
“But Buxton made him a fantastic offer, one we felt we couldn’t match.”
Tuton is expected to form a partnership up front alongside Liam Hardy next season at Buxton, after Lee Morris’ departure over the summer.