RAINWORTH MW may have all but achieved Evo-Stik NPL Division One South survival, but manager Kevin Gee insists that he is counting no chickens until mathematical safety is guaranteed.
Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle Town, effectively their outstanding game in hand on the other clubs at the lower end of the table, lifted the Wrens 12 points clear of the relegation zone, with five matches to go.
And, with a vastly superior goal difference courtesy of their mean defensive record, to all intents and purposes that becomes 13.
But Gee has not yet started looking seriously ahead to next season, insisting that the present campaign remains far from over.
Said Gee: “Until we are mathematically safe we can’t close this season off – I’ve always taken the mathematical view, whether at the upper or lower end of the league table.
“And now that we are almost safe we are still setting ourselves targets. We want to beat last season’s points tally of 40, and we also want to improve our league position. We don’t want to be third or fourth from bottom, we want to improve our points total, and we have five more games in which to do that.
“It shows how far we have come, that we were disappointed to come away from Newcastle with only a draw. We were hampered by late arrivals due to heavy traffic, which affected our pre-match preparations, and we were down to the bare bones squad-wise.
“So we lacked a bit of creativity, and I thought the only way we would score would be from a set piece, until Ryan Goward scored a good equaliser.”
Rainworth were not helped by born-again central defender Lee Cooksey picking up an early hamstring injury, but he had former Belper Town new boy Matt Plant, signed from Brigg Town, making an impressive debut, which delighted his new manager, who added: “Matt is an old-fashioned, no-nonsense centre-half who can both head and kick the ball well, and he slotted into the side perfectly.”
The Wrens are back on home territory this weekend after five successive away games, with Kidsgrove Athletic the visitors, and Gee is under no illusions as to how tough a task it will be.
Rainworth drew 1-1 at the Seddon Stadium in January, but it was a match many thought they deserved to win, a couple of crucial refereeing decisions going against them including having what looked a good goal disallowed.
After that they are without a game for a week, with Gee looking to use that time to allow a few players to regain fitness for the final four matches – home to Carlton Town and Newcastle Town, and away to Market Drayton and Stamford.
Considering the remaining fixtures, Gee said: “I would not have liked to be going into that sort of run-in still needing a lot of points to survive, but we are not, and we just want to go out on a high to give us boost for the start of next season.”
Kids in free on Easter Monday
Rainworth are allowing free admission to accompanied U16s when they entertain Nottinghamshire rivals and promotion hopefuls Carlton Town on Easter Monday.
The match has been designated as the Wrens’ ‘Kit-Aid day’ when anyone with any spare kits can bring them along and donate them to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s charity, which aims to send usable football kits to third world countries.
Representatives of any club in the locality with any kits to spare are asked to deliver them to the ground on Easter Monday, and the league will arrange for collection and export. Anyone donating a kit will also be allowed free admission to the match.