Rainworth may not have extended their unbeaten run in Evostik NPL Division One South to three on Saturday, but skipper Dan White says the Wrens have made great strides.
White put in a captain’s performance to help ensure that promotion chasing Newcastle Town never troubled injured David Reay in the second half, after the keeper sustained a knee injury as the only goal of the match was conceded just before the break.
It was yet another piece of ill luck which has dogged the Wrens throughout the season, but White still believes the side is capable of pulling clear of the drop zone, despite relegation arch-rivals Kidsgrove drawing level on points with a game in hand after their single goal win over Coalville Town.
The Wrens management would have wished for another unchanged side, but Chris Bettney and Josh Raven were ill, and Gino Kelleher injured from the side that had picked up four points from the previous two games.
These are big players to lose, but those who came in acquitted themselves well and deserved to take at least a point.
White insisted: “We have improved so much as a team, and anyone watching this game would not have believed that we are where we are in the table, nor the difference in league placing between the two sides.
“We held Newcastle really well, contained them to just one chance which has gone in, but that’s football for you. We just hope we can turn our improvement into points and start climbing the table a little in the remaining weeks.
“The improvement is down to having a more settled squad of players, including a good bunch of youngsters who we can work with, who want to be here, and who want to learn. And we’ve also got some experienced lads like Bettney and myself who can help the youngsters through, so from that point of view things look promising.
“We have certainly not picked up anything like as many points as we have deserved in recent weeks, but when you are struggling at the wrong end of the table you don’t get the breaks, the luck of the bounce, the ricochets.
“Last week Tividale equalised late on when the ball hit a lad’s head and rebounded into the net, the second time in three games that’s happened. We don’t get that rub of the green.”
White added that the spirit within the camp was typified by Reay carrying on in the second half after his injury.
The skipper continued: “Dave’s been class since he joined us a few weeks ago. On this occasion he’s come out for a long throw, his knee has given way beneath him, and the header has gone in. There’s nothing you can do about that, but he’s kept us in other games with some great saves. For him to carry on just shows the sort of spirit we’ve got here, a good bunch of players who all want to play for each other.”
Looking forward to the coming Saturday’s home game against yet another promotion chasing club, White concluded: “It’s another big game for us and we need a win with results this week going a bit against us. But if we play as we did against Newcastle there is no reason why we can’t cause another upset.”