Embarrassment for Wrens as Parkgate gifted their first win
Rainworth fell victim to the slippiest banana skin of the season as they gifted Parkgate their first league win at their 18th attempt.
Ben Thornton's 34th minute strike punished an utterly unacceptable first half performance by the Wrens and was enough to seal the 1-0 victory for the Steelmen despite a much better second half show by Julian Watts' men.
Watts went for broke midway through the second half, withdrawing two defenders in a bid for more fire power. It was a high risk strategy which almost paid dividends, but left them vulnerable to the counter-attack, on which the Rotherham side always looked dangerous.
Parkgate had just two points to show from their first 17 games, and this result more than doubled their tally to five - an embarrassing enough statistic for the Wrens to swallow, but that was tempered to some extent by the fact that their hosts had recently brought in a new manager and several new players who began to gel for probably the first time.
Nevertheless Rainworth were authors of their own downfall in the first half. Parkgate had the better of a slow start by both sides but there was no action of note from either side until the 13th minute when Wrens keeper Ben Townsend got enough of a touch onto Thornton's teasing cross to divert it over the bar.
Rainworth had fallen into their old habit of conceding possession too cheaply, and from one such charitable donation Kieran Hirst was fractionally too high.
The travelling fans had to wait until the 21st minute for any worthwhile goal attempt, Ryan Herbert aiming wide. That did spark a flurry of attacks which Parkgate defended with bodies behind the ball to block a succession of shots.
And, having ridden that spell, they hit back to devastating effect when Townsend managed to get a hand to Thornton's shot from in acres of space on the right, but couldn't keep it out.
Rainworth did almost pull it back two minutes before the break, when Connor Griffin sent Matty Sykes on a run into the box from the left, but home keeper Josh Lill made himself big and superbly blocked the shot with his legs.
That was probably the catalyst for the second half improvement, although the Wrens had to ride more early pressure from the hosts, with full backs Jake Adlington and Griffin now well on top of their game.
But up top Lill did well to claim the ball off the feet of Tomas Poole in the 52nd minute, and only seconds later the Wrens had what looked a cast iron penalty claim denied by referee Andrew Dallison when Declan Brewin went down under a clumsy challenge in the box.
Parkgate still posed a threat though, and it was Rainworth's turn to get bodies behind the ball before Josh Moore's downward header bounced up and over Townsend's bar.
Play immediately switched yet again to the other end and after Lill saved well from Brewin, the unlucky Sykes headed against the bar.
The next goal, if there was to be one, looked crucial, and as chances continued to come and go at both ends manager Watts, with his bench options limited to the extent that he had to name himself, gambled by sacrificing defenders Joe Cheeseman and Adlington.
It became something of an onslaught on the Parkgate goal, yet still the home side stood up to it, aided, it must be said, by some blatant time wasting on occasion. Indeed at one stage even Townsend was over the half way line urging his outfield men forward.
But the risk of such gung-ho tactics was obvious, and only an out of this world challenge in the box by Rob Ludlam on Adam Johnson prevented a second Parkgate goal, and in added time the Steelmens' sub was denied again, this time by Townsend with a superb sweeper's tackle outside his area, before the final whistle brought cheers of joy from the home fans at the end of their season-long winless run.
PARKGATE: Lill, McGowan (Hall 88), Harris, Dacre, Beever, Alali, Rupere, Emmett, Moore (Johnson 62), B. Thornton, Hirst (Cuckson 58). Subs not used: Lannaman, S. Thornton.
RAINWORTH: Towensend, Adlington (Maturin-Drew 81), Griffin, Buxton, Cheeseman (Langford 67), Ludlam, Brewin, Herbert, Topliss, Poole, Sykes. Sub not used: Watts.
REFEREE: Andrew Dallison.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jake Adlington.