Goalkeeper departs but Eastwood aim to build on much-needed win

Zander Shayler says Eastwood CFC go into this weekend’s trip to Quorn full of confidence after securing their first win under the club’s new management team last Saturday.

Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 1:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 2:03 pm
Mark Rathbone has left Eastwood to join NPL Midlands side Carlton Town.
Mark Rathbone has left Eastwood to join NPL Midlands side Carlton Town.

The 2-1 success at Pinchbeck United came thanks to goals from Kyle Wrenn and Louis Czerwak and built on a 2-2 draw with Heather St John’s the previous week, emphasising the progress being made under joint-managers Shayler and Paul Rockley.

And Shayler feels that as the much-changed squad is beginning to settle, so are performances.

He said: “The fact is that consistency in the squad is bringing better consistency in the displays they’re producing and it was massive to get that first win under our belts last weekend.

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"Belief is growing and we’ve got a good core of 14/15 players training twice a week now so that is helping a lot.

"It was a dreadful day in terms of the weather and it being a near two-hour trip for most of us so to get out of there with three points was brilliant.

"Now we have to face a side that have won six of their last eight games and are scoring a lot of goals too, but we are in a good place now and are really looking forward to it.

"We just want to keep playing now. There are two or three players who aren’t quite up to fitness so need games to achieve that and obviously momentum plays a part too now we have some results under our belts.”

One player who won’t feature at Quorn is goalkeeper Mark Rathbone.

He has signed for NPL Midlands side Carlton Town whose previous custodian Kieran Preston has been recalled by his parent club Basford United, as has former Eastwood striker Paddy Webb who could otherwise have been in line to face the Red Badgers on Saturday having netted twice for Quorn at Heanor last weekend.

And while Shayler was disappointed to lose Rathbone, he says the opportunity to play a level higher was one they couldn’t deny him.

He said: “Mark’s been the best goalkeeper we’ve had at the club since it was formed, in my opinion.

"We’d had offers from clubs at our level and the level below but we couldn’t deny him the chance to play higher and he goes to Carlton with our very best wishes.

"It means we’ll give a chance to young Lewis Scott who has been with the U21s and also backup to Mark this season.

"He played at Holbeach in October and kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win and has been patient, so rather than us just going out and bringing in a keeper from elsewhere it’s only fair we give Lewis the chance and see how he gets on.

“Players leaving give opportunities for others to come in and stake a claim and we have good options here in all positions.”

Following the game at Quorn, Eastwood will have two home games to look forward to against sides enduring differing fortunes.

Bottom-of-the-table Holbeach United are the visitors on Saturday, January 29, before high-flying Gresley Rovers arrive a week later as they continue their pursuit of league leaders Long Eaton United.