Julian Watts praises Rainworth quality after Pickering win

HOPE Valley League round-up.
HOPE Valley League round-up.

Manager Julian Watts lauded the quality of his Rainworth side who saw off the challenge of in-form Pickering Town on Saturday.

Speaking after the match, Watts praised both sides for the level of entertainment they provided for an above-average crowd in the rain and wind of Kirklington Road, but insisted that it was the quality of his own side that shone through in the end to secure the three points.

He continued: “We knew how big a test Pickering would be - they were the in-form side and we saw what they could do in midweek when they came back from 2-1 down at half time to win 5-2 at Albion Sports.

“But leaving aside our defeat at Pontefract in our last match a fortnight ago our form has been pretty similar, so we knew it would be an even contest.

“They did put us under some pressure for a 15-minute spell after they had equalised, but we came through that and our defence stayed on top of their game, we were not cut open very often, and we created the better chances.”

On an afternoon when some first class goals added to the entertainment, Watts singled out the killer fourth goal by substitute Liam Theakstone as extra-special.

He went on: “Liam cleared the ball from their corner, followed it upfield, made a great run, showed perseverance and got his reward with a cool finish when the ball broke back to him. Liam is knocking on the door for a starting shirt, he has an excellent attitude, and we’ve seen what he is capable of in the short time he was on the field.

“The ability we have in the side is fantastic, so it’s just a matter of making sure we match up with the work rate, because when we do that our quality will always shine through as it did today.”

Watts also had a word of praise for new boy Jack Barnett, who made his debut after signing from NCEL Premier Division rivals Worksop Town.

He explained: “I had Jack at Shirebrook last year, and he’s one of four players we now have in our side who were not getting into the starting teams for their previous clubs. Different managers see different things in their players, but for me Jack is another one who is an excellent footballer, he organises well, talks well and knows the game inside out. We had to wait 28 days from the signing of Connor Smythe before approaching Worksop again, but Jack wasn’t getting any game time there and wanted to come.

“He already knows about half of the lads, he’ll soon get to know the others, and he is going to be a big player for us this season.”

Looking forward to the coming Saturday’s local derby at Retford United, Watts admitted that, as at Pontefract, the pitch does not suit the Wrens’ style of football. But he emphasised: “ We need to overcome that and be a little braver than we were at Pontefract, because we changed the way we played there and it didn’t work.

“We are a footballing side, but it’s no good just saying that when you’re on a heavy or poor quality pitch. You have to adapt to the conditions, persevere, and keep trying to pass the ball around although it becomes more difficult. So that’s what we need to do at Retford, and see what we can get.”

Meanwhile, Rainworth’s home Notts Senior Cup third round tie against Notts Senior League Beeston has been fixed for Tuesday, 8th December. That means that the League Cup third round tie at Yorkshire Amateur, originally scheduled for that evening, has been put back one week to 15th.

A revised date of Tuesday, 12th January has also been set for last week’s postponed Premier Division game at Barton Town.