Rainworth MW must go against recent history if they are to gain any joy against relegation-threatened Kidsgrove Athletic in Saturday’s Evo-Stik Division One South match at Kirklington Road.
The Wrens have beaten the Potteries outfit only once in their six previous meetings.
That came in last season’s home game when they ran out 3-1 winners, although Kidsgrove gained their revenge later in the season with a 3-0 victory at their Seddon Stadium.
Previous meetings have seen Athletic win three, Rainworth just the one, with two draws, but this season Kidsgrove find themselves in the relegation zone with only one league victory to date from their 17 games.
Wrens boss Scott Rickards is hoping there will be no need for the same kind of fightback as was required when Jamie Clarke’s stoppage time equaliser rescued a point against improving Market Drayton Town last week.
A Rainworth win would ensure that, for the first time since their promotion to the Evo-Stik League, they will complete the first half of their league season at Romulus on Saturday week with more wins than defeats. But Rickards is taking nothing for granted.
Speaking after seeing his side get out of jail in added time against Market Drayton, the Wrens boss said: “Kidsgrove have not had the best of seasons to date and this is another one of those matches where we are in danger of slipping on a banana skin, just as we almost did against Market Drayton.
“Thankfully we did manage to get ourselves back into that game in the second half. We were disappointed to have gone 3-1 down, having left ourselves too vulnerable to counter-attacks in the first half, leaving us in a situation where we were always chasing the game.
“And maybe if we reflect further back to the win at Leek we would have been happy prior to that to have taken four points from the two games.
“My message at half-time was that we had spent too much time dilly-dallying on the ball in the first half and we would only hurt them if we got the ball forward and into their box.
“We did that more in the second half, but like everyone else I began to wonder whether, once Jamie Clarke had scored our second, we would ever get the equaliser as the Drayton goal had a charmed life, especially when Kieran Walker hit the bar four minutes from the end. So when Jamie hit that unstoppable equaliser in added time we were happy to accept the point.”
He added: “The lads were warned before the game that this would not be the same Market Drayton that we had beaten 4-1 away in my first match in charge.
“Since Greg Clowes has taken over there they had moved away from the foot of the table and, but for Jamie’s late leveller, they would have made it three wins on the trot. This happens sometimes with a new manager - it did with us when I took over from Kevin Gee.
“Being at the wrong end of the league does not make Kidsgrove or any of the others down there a bad side.
“All it means is that they lack the consistency of the higher-placed clubs, so it is up to us to capitalise and, having rescued a point on top of the win at Leek, to stretch our own unbeaten run to three ahead of next week’s visit to Romulus, and then see if we can make it four.
“If we are to achieve anything this season in terms of getting into or around the play-offs then we will have to see Saturday as a winnable game - but I stress winnable, and not a foregone conclusion.”