Having recorded successive 2-0 victories in their last two pre-season matches against Central Midlands opposition, Rainworth MW will raise the bar for their final two matches as the big kick-off nears.
Last Saturday’s home victory over Clay Cross Town was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.
Goals either side of half-time by Lewis Bingham and Max Curzon sealed the win, Liam Morris providing the spadework and the assists in both cases, but the Clay Cross keeper was grateful on three occasions to be saved by his crossbar, as the new-look Wrens put together an attractive passing game under the watchful eye of assistant manager Ady Smith, while boss Julian Watts was unavailable.
The Wrens’ next match, at home to NCEL Division One outfit AFC Emley, has been brought forward to Friday (7.30pm), and club officials are hoping that the lack of football elsewhere in the area will ensure a good attendance for the game.
They wrap up their pre-season programme on Saturday week at home to Heanor Town, who moved across from the NCEL Premier Division to the Midland League in the close season.
Those two final pre-season fixtures will be a good indication of Rainworth’s readiness for the season proper, but Smith says he is quietly confident.
Speaking after the Clay Cross game, he said: “We had to work hard on a dry pitch but we passed the ball around well in the first half, then it all came good in the second half as Clay Cross tired a bit, enabling us to create more chances and add another goal.
“Yes, I’m happy with our progress so far. In previous games our opponents have sent out lots of substitutes, but today the boot has been on the other foot, and we had the opportunity to rest a few players and give everyone a chance to play.
“It becomes harder in the final two games, and this has been emphasised in the dressing room. We know we still have to up our game, work to hit a higher standard and pass the ball quicker, but we are on track for the start of the season.”
How difficult that start will be became clear on Monday when the Premier Division fixtures were revealed - cruelly, the first five matches, including one FA Cup tie, are all away.
So, unless they draw that extra preliminary round tie at Bottesford Town and earn a home replay, they will not taste action at Kirklington Road until August 29, and even that would fall if they progress in the Cup for they will be away again that day in the preliminary round.
The Wrens begin their fixtures with a trip up the A1 to Garforth Town, and as well as the cup tie there will be further away league games at Albion Sports, Parkgate, and Brett Marshall’s Staveley MW.
The first home game, subject to the FA Cup, will be against Athersley Recreation, while the eagerly awaited local derbies against Clipstone are scheduled for Tuesday, September 8 (home) and Boxing Day (away).
In other matches, Worksop Town visit Rainworth on October 10 with the return at Sandy Lane on March 12, while the Wrens will visit Brigg Town, who stepped down from the Evo-Stik League with them, on October 3, the Zebras travelling to Nottinghamshire on March 5.
Meanwhile, the Wrens are still searching for a physio, and anyone interested is invited to contact chairman/secretary Les Lee by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 07889 561787.