Rainworth MW vs Hall Road Rangers
Tuesday November 28
Kirklington Road, Kick off: 7.45pm
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
By Neil Winsor
Photographs provided by Lee Myers
HALL Road Rangers face a different type of challenge tonight as they make their longest trip of the season, a near 160 mile round trip to face Rainworth Miners Welfare in the NCEL Premier Division.
The in-form ‘Wrens’, who are currently on an eight match unbeaten run themselves, welcome a Hall Road side boosted though by the return to the squad of midfield duo Jack Griffin and Conner Harman (pictured), who both missed Saturday’s 4-2 away day success at Thackley.
Tonight’s fixture brings an end to a frantic November which has seen Rangers feature seven times, whilst their hosts have played just four in this period, but having recorded that win at Thackley on Saturday afternoon, Bill Gill and his players make the trip with renewed confidence, and keen to record three more points on the road.
Although still having played two games less despite the ‘fixture squeeze’ in the last month, Rangers sit four places below their seventh placed hosts and eleven points their inferior.
With tenth placed Penistone Church not featuring though, at least a draw tonight will see Rangers nudge back into the top ten, equaling their highest league position of the season, whilst a win will see them move to within two points of Worksop in ninth and Bridlington Town in eighth.
It is also worth noting that with the exception of Maltby Main, who needed a 90th minute winner in September, Rangers are unbeaten away from home in the league against those in the top six of the division.
There is an unexpected link between the two sides also, as Rangers target man Sam O’Malley had a spell with tonight’s hosts in 2014 whilst they were an Evostik side.
Rainworth recorded a 3-2 victory over Barton at the weekend their sixth home win of the season.
Having raced into a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead within the first half, having seen Dave Ricardo’s side reduced to ten men, Barton battled back to level matters through a Tom Waudby penalty to equalise at 2-2 with nine minutes remaining.
Rainworth however regained their composure, and Danny Booth squeezed home the winner as the clock ticked past 90 minutes, which helped his side claim the points.
View from the dugout – By Bill Gill
“There is a famous saying around non league football and its simply that you maybe good but can you do it on a cold Tuesday night away from home, with a long trip, and that’s exactly my message ahead of tonight.
Our opposition have got into a good habit of not losing and have gone eight games without defeat now, and I expect they will be bang up for it.
I have been reading all the articles and they are going into the game with an ‘it is three points for them, and nothing else will do’ mentality.
Our incentive is simple, we are trying to hit the top ten and close the gap on the teams in 7th, 8th and 9th.
The lads are playing for their shirts now and competition is good, especially with two more key players back tonight and fingers crossed we should have another two returning on Saturday.
I’m looking for hard work from the front line, good energy in the middle and been stubborn at the back, do all those things and we could get something tonight.”