Coach Paul Rockley expressed the frustration of everyone involved with Rainworth MW at Worksop Town’s last gasp equaliser in Saturday’s local derby at Kirklington Road.
After a goalless first half Tomas Poole had put the Wrens ahead with a 63rd minute scorcher in front of a season-best crowd of 241 on National Non-League Day, but crucially Rainworth also missed three gilt-edged chances to seal victory.
And, for the away support that made up the larger part of the crowd, it was a mixture of joy and relief when, in the fourth of five added minutes, the fifth-placed Tigers equalised.
Worksop manager Ryan Hindley admitted after the match that his side were guilty of robbery, but Rockley was rather more generous with his views, and gave them credit for fighting to the end to secure the point.
But the Wrens coach added: “It was a sickener to concede so late in the game after we had worked our socks off and looked as if we had it won.
“But it was a fairly even game overall and I can’t fault the effort of Worksop either. Having said that, we had two or three chances, and any one of those taken makes that late goal irrelevant. It shows that if you don’t take the chances presented to you, you leave yourselves open to the sucker punch. They had one opportunity in the second half, and scored it.”
Through his frustration, though, Rockley remained upbeat, insisting: “We’re coming together as a team after starting from scratch at the beginning of the season with new management and an almost totally new squad of players, and if you compare our last two or three games with a month ago you can see how we’ve come on in terms of shape, organisation and discipline.
“A month ago the lads would have been pleased to take a point off Worksop, now they are gutted that it wasn’t three, against a good side who are fifth in the league.
“Both sides contained a high proportion of players who had previously played for the respective opponents, and when you go into a match such as this, all of those players on both sides have that extra desire to prove a point, which made it a good, even battle.”
An extra frustration for the Wrens was that they were literally seconds away from their first clean sheet of the season, but Rockley ended: “It’s the closest we’ve come to that, but we will dust ourselves down, work on one or two pointers on the training pitch this week, and go from there. And another performance like that on Saturday at home to Hemsworth, another very hard fixture, ought to see us go one better than we did on this occasion.”