Following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Mansfield Town, Rainworth MW boss Julian Watts says it’s now time for the real pre-season work to begin.
Despite having had only three training sessions, the Wrens gave a good account of themselves against the Stags’ two different first team squads, one in each half.
But they succumbed to goals by James Baxendale in the sixth minute and Adi Yussuf in the 62nd.
Although the vast majority of the game was played in the Rainworth half, Watts’ side did have a few chances to get onto the scoresheet, the best midway through the first half when Liam Theakstone could not quite connect with the goal at his mercy.
Watts said afterwards that it had been a useful exercise for the club, both on and off the field with an attendance of 629 to boost the coffers. But he admitted that it’s difficult to learn a lot from games such as this.
He said: “We know these games help us to sort out our organisation and shape, and, although what you can take from it is limited, you still want to see a good attitude, good shape, discipline, people doing their job properly, and talking to and supporting each other, and we saw plenty of that today despite the result.
“We conceded too many goals last season, and although we did well in holding a Football League club to two, both of those goals came from our own mistakes, when we lost the ball in positions where we should not have done.
“So we will be concentrating in the coming weeks on tightening up a bit at the back to ensure that we are not a soft side to play against.
“Apart from the two goals we defended very well but we didn’t get much chance to see what our attacking options are, and we’ll be looking at that in the coming games, starting against Gresley next Saturday.
“Gresley are a very good side from a league above us, and it’s in games like this that we will really see where we are at.”
Watts also had a word of praise for the departing Matty Sykes, who was playing his last game for Rainworth prior to relocating into the York area.
He continued: “I really can’t say enough about Matt, he’s a great lad with great ability as we saw last season.
“He chipped in with quite a few goals, and when Connor Smythe left he dropped in seamlessly into an unfamiliar left back berth and looked as if he’s been playing there all his life.
“I’m trying to sort him a new club out near to his new home, and on behalf of the club I wish him all the best and thank him for his time here which has been excellent.”
Following the Gresley game next Saturday Rainworth have further pre-season fixtures against Sherwood Colliery (home) on Tuesday 12th July, Teversal (away) on Saturday 16th, Emley (away) on Thursday 21st, Melton Mowbray (home) on Tuesday 26th, and Clay Cross Town (away) on Saturday 30th.