7 months ago
By Gordon Foster
Two stirring performances in four days have seen Rainworth MW return to manager Craig Denton’s good books.
A battling 2-2 home draw against the odds against in-form Garforth Town on Saturday was followed by a professional 3-0 demolition of Division One hosts Rossington Main on Tuesday night to put the Wrens and Denton himself in good heart for this Saturday’s short trip to uncharacteristically struggling Staveley MW.
The two performances lifted the gloom after two 4-0 defeats either side of the relief of a last gasp 2-1 win at bottom club neighbours Clipstone.
On Saturday Denton may well have been tearing his hair after again conceding an early goal to Garforth, but a quickfire double of headed goals from Ross Goodwin saw the Wrens in front, only to then lose goalkeeper Ben Townsend (pictured) to a bad knee injury as Town equalised in the 18th minute.
With the keeper unable to continue, key defender Max Pemberton had to go in goal, and things looked even worse when returning debutant centre back Steve Wankiewicz received his marching orders for a professional foul midway through the second half. However, so well did the Wrens defend in the case of a Garforth onslaught towards the end that they held on for a deserved share of the spoils.
Denton hailed the performance as one of great character. “We fell behind despite a bright start, showed resilience to turn the game with two great headed goals from Ross whose man of the match award was well deserved, and then dug in to protect Max who, for all their pressure, was never seriously extended in goal.”
Tuesday night’s League Cup third round tie at Rossington was a potential banana skin with a few players out including Townsend, who has said on social media that he does not expect to be out for as long as seemed likely at the time of his injury.
Andy Francis was given his belated first run out in goal and performed confidently, while at the other end man of the match Nathan Modest’s first half strike was added to by Pemberton ad sub Charlie Dawes after the break to see the Wrens safely through to round four.
“We rested Nathan on Saturday because he wasn’t fully fit, but he’s come back in, covered loads of ground, and shown what he’s really capable of,” continued the Wrens boss. Credit to Rossington’s groundsman who has made it an excellent pitch to play football on, but it suited our game.
“Lee Danysz has got Rossington playing really well, but we didn’t go there thinking it would be an easy shift – the game at Clipstone showed the folly of doing that. We knew we had to be disciplined and keep a good shape, and we did a good, honest, professional job. It’s credit to our own management team that we had a good balance, and it was a true team victory.”
Looking forward to the Staveley trip on Saturday, Denton again cautioned against complacency, warning: “They are coming into the match on the back of a 5-0 defeat to Worksop Town, so Brett Marshall will have rallied his troops for this game. Staveley have some good individual talent despite their league position, but if we put in another quality display as we did against Rossington I would hope we can take the three points.”
Denton will be without Wankiewicz who will serve a one match ban for last Saturday’s red card, although he also missed the Rossington game through illness.
But the gaffer pointed out that over the past couple of games one or two players have come into the reckoning. “Charlie Dawes came on and got himself a goal, and Jack Bennett, who hasn’t figured for some time, also did well when he got a run out in the second half, so there is a good buzz about the place,” he said.
“And as well as Charlie, in the past couple of games we’ve seen Ross and Max also both on target, which shows that goals are coming from all over the pitch, and we’re not having to just rely on the centre-forwards.”
Updated 15:59 - 21 Feb 2018 by Gordon Foster