Nine goals conceded in the last three matches have left Rainworth MW manager Julian Watts counting the cost of individual errors.
The Wrens’ boss had qualified his praise for the side last week after they beat Cleethorpes Town 6-3 by reflecting on their own culpability in the way the three goals were conceded.
And, following the depleted side’s disappointing 3-0 FA Vase defeat at Midland League Quorn, the Wrens shipped three more to local rivals Clipstone in Tuesday night’s Toolstation NCEL Premier Division derby at Kirklington Road, where they fell 3-1.
That was the first derby league game between the two traditional old rivals after an eight-year absence, and it was a match that Watts was keen to win following the Vase setback. As it was, it was also the first time the Wrens had failed to score at least twice in the league this season.
Speaking after the match, Watts said: “It was another disappointing night for us. We got pegged back early, but I look at all three Clipstone goals and I just see mistakes, which is frustrating because if you don’t make those errors you don’t concede the goals.
“Clipstone are a very good side, very well set up, they like to pass the ball around as we do, and they are always dangerous. But in all three cases their goals came about in situations where our players could have made better decisions.
“You could argue that they had the sharper cutting edge - we had three clear cut chances in the second half when we were on top, two of them one on ones. Finish one of those and it’s back to 2-2 and we have the momentum behind us. We dominated the second half but that counts for nothing if you don’t finish your chances. Then they go down, take one of theirs, and it’ game over.”
Reflecting on the Vase defeat, Watts continued: “That was disappointing for a different reason. We had six players out, five of whom would have started, so we were very short. You build a squad, but players around the edge of the team always want to be playing, and if they aren’t getting in they go elsewhere. That’s football at this level, it’s hard to keep players happy, and lack of bodies made it hard work for us.
“Our weaknesses showed on the day, and even in phases of the game where we were dominant we couldn’t find any finish, and we got caught on the break, again with individual mistakes contributing.”
Rainworth have the chance to put their deficiencies right on Saturday when, for the second time in five days, they play host to a club newly promoted from Division One - Pontefract Collieries.
Pontefract have not made the same excellent start as have Clipstone, which Watts says he finds puzzling. “They are normally a very strong outfit, but they’ve not had the best of starts and you wonder why that is,” he said.
“We film and analyse every game we play, we look at where we’ve done well, and where we have done less well, and hopefully what we have learned in these last few games will help us to set ourselves up to go out and get three points on Saturday.”
Following that, the Wrens are at home again on Tuesday, when promotion hopefuls Handsworth Parramore visit Kirklington Road.