IF Rainworth MW are to continue their climb away from the foot of Evo-Stik NPL Division One South they will have to overcome a tough December programme.
The Wrens face four difficult away trips during the month while their only home game is against current league leaders Stamford.
Ideally manager Kevin Gee would have liked to have been going into the month on the back of a continuing winning run, but it was not to be as they were brought back to earth after a run of three successive victories by Goole at home on Tuesday night.
And, with more and more clubs being pulled into a relegation scrap at the foot of the division as those clubs currently around the bottom keep on picking up points, no-one is going to afford a poor run of results.
Currently it seems quite probable that a club will be relegated from Division One South with a better points tally than any number of clubs in the Northern Division who survive, such is the tight nature of the Southern section.
Gee himself was not too downhearted by the end of the mini-run of success – the first time since they were promoted to the division in the summer of 2010 that they had put together three wins on the bounce.
He said: “It was a disappointing night, but there was always going to come a time when we would lose, and what matters is how you react to that.”
And, looking at the December schedule, his troops really are going to need a reaction.
The month’s programme begins with a difficult trip to Leek Town on Saturday, and that is followed just two days later by another away journey, to Romulus.
The following Saturday brings the only home game of the month against Stamford, before visiting Newcastle Town on 17th and neighbours Carlton Town on Boxing Day.
Looking forward to Saturday’s trip to Leek, Gee knows that the Blues will be keen to prove a point after having been beaten by the Wrens three times since their promotion – the most recent on 15th November when Rainworth overcame the hurdle of having Ian Clarke rather harshly sent off to win 2-1 and launch that three-match winning sequence.
Clarke sits out that game and also Monday’s trip to Romulus as he completes his three-match ban for that dismissal, but striker Nathan Adams, who scored both goals in that game against Leek but missed the Goole match because of work commitments, should be back in contention.
Gee has challenged his men to make a positive reaction, saying: “We have to stay together as a group.
We missed Ian and Nathan against Goole, but you need the players who step in to step up to the level and do the job, because there is no hiding place if they don’t.”
The Wrens will also have available new boy Niall O’Rafferty, who has signed from Worksop Town and made a promising debut – almost scoring an amazing solo goal in only the second minute.
O’Rafferty is a former Mansfield Town youngster who, after his release, played for Grantham Town and Frickley Athletic before joining Worksop, who have allowed him to move to Rainworth to regain match fitness.
Said Gee: “I’ve got a good relationship with a lot of managers in this league. If you do right by people they do right by you, so if good players become available for however long we will bring them in, even if it is effectively a loan situation.”