Injured club captain and goalkeeper Ben Townsend says Rainworth’s 1-1 draw with leaders AFC Mansfield on Saturday felt like a win.
The Wrens had fallen behind to a Cameron Dear goal before half time, and were then cut to 10 men by a second yellow card for Tomas Poole, but a resilient display kept former Rainworth boss Rudy Funk’s side at bay and Kyle Jordan fired them level from the penalty spot to earn a point which put a big dent in their local rivals’ title hopes.
Townsend, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Garforth Town in mid-February, watched from the dug-out and was full of praise for his team mates’ gutsy display against a very strong Mansfield outfit.
“We had chances in the first half, didn’t put them away, and we didn’t make their keeper work and we found ourselves a goal down at half time,” said the skipper. “Mansfield took more control in the second half, and had chances to extend their lead, but we ended up winning the half 1-0.
“It really felt like a win, especially after going down to 10 men. I thought the referee made a few poor decisions, but the penalty evened it up a bit. We’ve seen before how a team can struggle against 10 men, they can get a bit lackadaisical, take their foot off the gas, but we showed all the heart and passion going and got our reward in the end.”
Rainworth are currently enjoying a midweek with no game as other clubs scurry to catch up their fixture backlogs, but on Saturday they travel to resurgent Barton Town, before playing host to Liversedge in the League Cup quarter-final on Monday.
Barton are unbeaten since the beginning of February with eight wins and two draws, promotion form which has lifted them well clear of the relegation battle, but Townsend says Rainworth have nothing to fear from their trip to the Easy Buy Stadium.
He continued: “If we play as we did against Worksop Town last Wednesday and AFC Mansfield on Saturday we are capable of beating anyone in the league.
“There is a great sense of togetherness within the squad and although Barton are obviously a very good side now we will go there looking for three more points.
“And as for the League Cup tie, well it’s a competition the lads want to win. Everyone knows now that the club are pulling out of the league at the end of the season. It’s a decision which has hit the lads hard but we understand why it has been taken, and although most of the players will be leaving along with the management team at the end of the season it would be nice to give the club a trophy for the cupboard as a going away present.
“I’m particularly disappointed because if I hadn’t been injured I would have been making my 100th appearance for the club on the last day of the season, which it seems won’t now happen.”
Meanwhile the selection process is under way for a new manager to take charge next season in whatever league the club are allocated, and an announcement is expected to be made in the near future.