Player-manager Scott Rickards found it hard to take any positives from Rainworth’s shambolic display in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Clipstone.
His Evo-Stik League Division One South side were pulled up short by their NCEL Division One neighbours after a hitherto decent pre-season campaign, and the only wonder was that the Cobras’ winning margin was only one goal.
That was to have been the last fixture prior to a difficult opening game at Leek Town on Saturday week, but the Wrens have hastily arranged a home friendly tomorrow (Thursday) evening against Central Midlands neighbours Bilsthorpe with a view to putting right the failures of the visit to Clipstone’s Worksop Van Hire Stadium.
After a couple of days to reflect on the result and the nature of the defeat, Rickards was still at a loss to explain how it had happened.
He said: “The only thing we could take from it was that we didn’t get beaten by more goals. We looked poor and lacked any creativity going forward, and what I witnessed was two groups of players who looked as if they should have been the opposite way round. Clipstone looked like the Evo-Stik side and we the inferior opposition.
“We are trying to sort things out and make amends in training and kick on again, and we hope it was just a blip against a team whose own pride meant they were always going to want to shoot us down.
“If we are honest no-one wants a poor performance, but I suppose if you’re going to have one then pre-season is the time to get it out of your system, because make no mistake, there will be no room for error once our league season kicks off.
“If we perform against the likes of Leek and Mickleover as we did against Clipstone we will find ourselves on the wrong side of a hammering. The last thing I want to be saying to the lads is ‘I told you so’, and it’s important that we get our message through to them in these last few days of pre-season.
“On the positive side we have shown that we can play some decent football. We have a group of players, some of whom have stepped up from lower leagues and others who have had a season at this level.
“As last year we are working tirelessly on keeping possession of the ball, but it doesn’t just happen and with the changes in personnel it may take a little time.
“We have a difficult start to the season against clubs who were in the promotion frame last April, but we have to view our opening four matches as a mini-target, get as many points on the board as we can, and then take stock.
“It’s no secret that we are on a very tight budget for the level we are at, and our season’s target has to be to ensure that we are still an Evo-Stik League side this time next year.”