Wrens' high five in a row
A goal towards the end of each half secured a 2-0 success for Rainworth at struggling Parkgate.
But the Wrens had to dig deep to avoid slipping on a potential banana skin as they made it five successive wins for the first time since their promotion season to the Evo-Stik League in 2009.
The two sides on view had enjoyed or endured contrasting Octobers, with Rainworth having taken 13 points from their five games during the month, and Parkgate none from their five.
So often in these circumstances the form book can be turned over, and with the Steelmen having new manager Ross Shelton in charge for the first time they had plenty to play for.
However, Nathan Modest broke the deadlock in Rainworth’s favour in the 40th minute, but the points were not safe until substitute Tomas Poole struck the second with just one minunte of the 90 remaining, leaving the Wrens top of the six-match form table.
Wrens’ boss Craig Denton admitted afterwards that although he was happy with the win, the performance fell a long way short of his expectations.
He said: “Five wins in a row and six without defeat is pleasing, but there will be plenty to work on in the two weeks before our next game, and we’ll use next Saturday’s blank day to do that.
“However, it has to be a good sign when you win matches without playing at your best.”
Parkgate began on the front foot for their new boss, and in the fifth minute Wrens keeper Ben Townsend was grateful to recover the ball after spilling it at the feet of Connor Peace.
And with the low sun in his eyes, Townsend needed two attempts to deal with Peace’s rasping drive from distance, but by and large a solid Rainworth defence dealt competently with the home threat.
It was not until midway through the first half that the visitors posed any threat, when Jack Waddle sent Modest cutting in from the left, only to see his shot pushed aside by home keeper Aiden Tyas.
Both Rob Ludlam and Parkgate’s Daniel Harris were guilty of high feet in a 50-50 challenge on the edge of the Rainworth box just before the half hour, but the referee gave the free kick Parkgate’s way, however Peace’s direct shot was straight at Townsend.
Rainworth were beginning to find their feet rather better though as the half went on and after Modest had sent two promising efforts wide he finally broke the deadlock—at the third attempt. Liam Royles crossed into the box, the striker’s initial header came back off the bar, his second half was parried at full stretch by Tyas, but Modest forced the ball over the line at the third try.
Buoyed by the goal, Rainworth began the second period on top and Waddle was just inches wide following Matty Sykes’ good work in the opening seconds. Then Modest’s pace beat the home offside to tee up Sykes, whose effort under pressure from a home defender flashed wide.
Back came Parkgate and Townsend was forced to tip over Charlie Stewart’s rising drive following a corner, and the ensuing second flag kick saw Daniel Harris’s fizzing low drive blocked on the line.
Back at the other end Ross Goodwin’s looping header onto Modest’s cross just cleared the angle, a fate met moments later by Waddle’s similar effort from the same source.
Rainworth replaced their strike force of Modest and Sykes with Liam Walker and Poole in the 77th minute, and the change paid dividends in the 89th when Poole pounced on a defensive error in the home box and applied the ultimate punishment firing past the exposed Tyas.
PARKGATE: Tyas, Hall, Graham, Laight, Alali, Stewart (Fieldsend 79), Paling (Guest ht), Abdulla (Ashton 73), Peace, Hirst, Harris. Sub not used: Bond.
RAINWORTH: Townsend, Ludlam, Smith, Booth, Ross, Pemberton, Royles, Waddle, Modest (Walker 77), Sykes (Poole 77), Goodwin (Nightingale 67). Subs not used: Bennett, Claxton.
REFEREE: Ian Johnston (East Ardsley); ATTENDANCE: 89.