MANAGER Kevin Gee was left to bemoan a succession of individual errors which have cost Rainworth Miners’ Welfare two Evo-Stik NPL Division One South defeats in the last week, as the Wrens prepare for the coming weekend’s trip to Kidsgrove Athletic.
But as the miserable run in the league seems to have sapped confidence, Gee has called on the fans to remain patient and upbeat, and not dent it even further.
Rainworth went down 3-0 at in-form Chasetown last Saturday, and suffered a shock follow-up 3-1 loss at previously out-of-sorts Lincoln United on Tuesday night, leaving supporters fearing a slide back down the table in the remaining weeks of the season.
One bright note on Tuesday was the form of new striker Kieran Wells who, only seven days earlier, had scored twice against the Wrens for Dunkirk in a Notts Senior Cup quarter-final tie which Rainworth won 3-2, and marked his debut in a Rainworth shirt by giving them the lead at Lincoln, before it all went wrong for the side.
Rainworth also acquired young defender Luke Weaver on work experience from Lincoln City, although the youngster was an unused substitute at the Imps’ neighbours on Tuesday.
However, on-loan defender Sam Purcicoe has now returned to Grantham Town at the end of his loan period, while Dan White has returned to Belper Town, from whom he joined before Christmas, but has been ruled out for most of that time by a succession of injuries, and newly-acquired cover goalkeeper James Lindley has now moved on to Worksop Town without ever kicking a ball for Rainworth.
Looking back on the two defeats in four days, Gee commented: “ It has probably been the toughest week I’ve had since being at the club, with expectations a lot higher now from within and the manner of the two defeats.
“At Chasetown I didn’t think we played that badly, but individual mistakes are hurting us again, and it was the same on Tuesday night.
“The squad on Tuesday was probably the best we’ve had for a while, and first half I thought we played really well, but again, as has been the norm for most parts of the season, one or two are not mentally strong enough. That includes senior players, and was evident when we allowed the opposition back into the game almost immediately after we had scored. It has happened nine times this season that teams have scored within five minutes of us taking the lead, due to lack of concentration and taking responsibility.
“The second half was really disappointing as we had enough chances to go and win the game, but again a free header for the second goal and Sunday morning defending for the third one puts the pressure on the group even more .
“From a statistician’s point of view we are in free fall at the minute and the confidence is a little dented, but the work ethic of the group and commitment cannot be questioned.
“Unfortunately we just don’t have enough quality at present, and as manager I have to address that, but I have always been a half-full glass ma and never a half-empty one, so we have to roll our sleeves up and stick together to try and still finish the season on a positive. We have nine games to go and our target is 50 points so we are more than capable of four wins from nine, but we have to start and get the basics right again and cut out the individual mistakes so we can begin to produce positive results.
“We are very much a work in progress, but on Tuesday night we had seven players in the team that we had worked with before Christmas and it showed.
“But new players take time to settle in and of course a few of the senior players have injuries. Danny Bacon has been a big loss to us but is slowly recovering, Ashley Kitchen is on the mend so hopefully he will be back with us soon, and course Ian Holmes is back on 29th March for four games including the Notts Senior Cup semi-final, which is positive.
“Obviously at Lincolon there were a couple of additions. Kieran Wells scored on his debut and did very well, but he’s only 19 and has been brought in as a long term player, so the fans have to be patient with him too, as expectancy levels will go up on him. He is a natural goal scorer and, more importantly, is hungry to learn, so I was really pleased with him.
“Young Luke Winter is a centre half I’ve brought in from Lincoln City, and again is keen to learn, so he, too, will play a key role in the run-in.
“Kieran Walker is now a Boston United player as we know, but I spoke to Dennis Green who kindly allowed him to play for us last night and, as a dual registered player, we always have that option, but will have to take Boston’s lead on that.
“On a final note I must ask our fans to be patient and remain positive as that’s really important for the group especially when confidence is a little vulnerable.
“I think this is the third season in this division, and last year we achieved our highest points tally of 41, and finished in our highest position, so with 39 points already - and yes, it does seem a long time since we were on them - and 27 points still to play for, I will guarantee we will break records again this year.
“We also have an added bonus of a tough Senior Cup semi-final game against local rivals Sutton Town, so with a minimum of 10 games left, and hopefully 11, it is important that we all remain focused on ending the campaign on a high note in preparation for next season.”