Ian Robinson may have been as gutted as Rainworth’s players and fans by Saturday’s controversial defeat by high-flying Loughborough Dynamo.
But the up side of the coin for the joint Wrens boss was that, after not much more than a week in the job, the new-look side look well capable of competing with the best teams in Evo-Stik League Division One South.
Loughborough went top of the league as a result of their 2-1 win, but the talking points of a game which was an excellent advertisement for Evo-Stik League football were centred around the men in black, who gave three hugely contentious decisions which all went the way of the visitors.
Robinson insisted that the game was dominated by the officials who, he said, had ‘failed to award us two blatant penalties, one of them a definite red card offence, and then the assistant has flagged to give Loughborough a winning goal when from his position behind the play he couldn’t possibly have known for certain whether or not the ball had crossed the line’.
Robinson added that everyone at the club felt hard done by as a result, but admitted: “We weren’t at the races in the first half, we lost the battle in midfield, and although we managed to create a couple of chances we could have turned round more than one goal behind.
“But in the second half we were a different beast. We created lots of opportunities by the way we moved the ball around, and I couldn’t fault the endeavour and the work rate.”
He continued: “We’re only just over a week into our managerial career at Rainworth, the strides we have made have been great in that short time, and we are miles ahead of where we thought we would be at this stage.
“We are where we thought we would be three or four weeks down the line, and we’ve shown against two potential top five teams that we can be competitive against them, while putting our first win on the board in between.
“This is despite us not being anywhere near the finished article yet - that will only come with time, and with fitness too because these lads haven’t had a pre-season, so fitness will have a big part to play as it returns in the coming weeks.
“We have a good mixture of youth and experience, we have several young players who have good attributes, but we know that we can’t have too many youngsters out on the field at the same time, so we have to make sure we nurture and look after them properly.
“We (Robinson and co-manager Gary Sucharewicz) have got plenty of experience of doing that, we know how to treat young players and get the best out of them.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s home rehearsal for the away FA Trophy tie against Market Drayton Town, Robinson believes it is one of several winnable games coming up.
He insisted: “We have set our standard, and the message we will be giving the lads is that if they can be competitive against the top teams like Chasetown and Loughborough they can win matches against teams who are mid-table or lower.”
With no midweek game this week, the Wrens took the chance to work on some togetherness and prepare for Saturday with some friendly action on Tuesday night at Central Midlands side Hucknall Rolls Leisure.
Every available player was given some game time, the Wrens winning 2-1 after second half goals by Alex Ford and Jamie Brown overturned Jason Gregory’s unlucky first half own goal.
Among the players on view was impressive new left back Jack Andrews, and Rainworth have expressed their immense gratitude to their Premier Division neighbours Belper Town for once again waiving the required period of notice to allow Andrews to move - far from being the first time that the Nailers have helped the Wrens in this way.