Joint manager Ian Robinson was in upbeat mood after seeing Rainworth MW record an excellent 2-1 Evo-Stik NPL Division One South win over Sutton Coldfield.
Few would have given the next to bottom Wrens a prayer against the Royals who arrived in second place, despite their having been knocked off the top following a recent dip in results or the recent encouraging Rainworth performances.
But for once the ill luck that has dogged them all season did not manifest itself, and with the Wrens boosted by the return of skipper Dan White after his marriage, and two excellent midfield signings in the experienced Chris Bettney and Leon Osborne, they were more than a match for their highly placed visitors.
White marked his return with an immense man of the match performance in the heart of defence while Bettney provided the assist for the first goal and Osborne scored the second, to give Rainworth only thier third home win of a long, hard season.
Speaking shortly after the final whistle, a delighted Robinson said: “We were due a scalp, and at second in the league we can call that a scalp today.
“It’s taken us a while to put together a squad of 16 who we feel can still climb the league, and today has shown what we are about. We’ve now got a very good mix of youth and experience, and a good all-round set-up.
“The days have gone when teams could look upon us as an easy source of three points. We’ve got eight games left, and our job in those games will be emulate today’s performance.
“It helped that Kidsgrove lost so that we went above them, but we can’t control what they do except when they play us at the end of the season, it’s about what we do in our remaining games.
“It’s been a hard year - we’ve signed far too many players after having no pre-season and having to start from scratch eight games in, but now we’ve got a good nucleus and it looks good for staying in this league and for next year. But the main thing is to focus on one game at a time and make sure we go on picking up points.”
On newcomers Bettney and Osborne, Robinson continued: “I’ve known ‘Betts’ for years and have played alongside him many times, particularly at Alfreton. At 37 he still has the legs and the quality on the ball. He brings a fantastic set piece to the club as we saw with the first goal and will do us a god job not only on the ball but in guiding the young players around him.
“Leon hasn’t played much this season and says he is not yet fit, so there is more to come from him, and he showed that with an outstanding finish for the second and winning goal.”
The win put Rainworth two points above Kidsgrove who still have a game in hand but who have to visit Kirklington Road in April, and it will send them for their first ever visit to Tividale on Saturday in great heart.