Manager Paul Rawden paid tribute to his Kimberley Miners Welfare players this week after they produced what was widely described as the best result in their history.
Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Evo-Stik Division One side Rainworth MW put Kimberley into the quarter-finals of the Notts Senior Cup for the first time in their 88-year existence.
And Rawden now hopes the victory will help kick-start their league campaign which has seen several points dropped in recent weeks.
He said: “The win was good for the whole club as we aim to establish ourselves in the football pyramid.
“It was one of our aims to get this far in the Senior Cup as it means we’ll be seeded next year and won’t have to play in the first couple of rounds.
“We weren’t flattered by the score. We out-fought and out-played a side two levels higher than us and deserved the win.”
Rawden has admitted that Kimberley’s overall impressive start to life at step six has led to some of his better players having their heads turned by offers from clubs at a higher level, but accepts that fact as being an inevitable by-product of doing well.
“You can become victims of your own success to some extent and we could lose one or two players to a higher level,” he said.
“I don’t mind that as one of your aims at this level is always to develop players so they can play higher up, but obviously it’s difficult when you lose your best members of the squad.
“But we should be able to replace them. It’s hard when you can’t compete financially as tempting players to come here and/or stay comes down to how we treat them and also the fact that we’re competitive and can educate players well too.”
Kimberley welcome league leaders St Andrews to the Stag Ground on Saturday looking to improve on recent form which has seen them drop to tenth place in the league with just two points from the last five games.
But Rawden is keen to put things in perspective.
He said: “If you’d said to us at the start that by the start of December we’d be in the quarter-finals of the Senior Cup and in the top ten of the EMCL then we’d obviously have been happy with that.
“The disappointing thing is that we’ve not been able to maintain our good start, but in fairness we’ve had injuries and suspensions kick in which haven’t helped.
“Captain Martin Lench has been out for a couple of months and we can’t afford to simply go out and replace him, whilst we also had the likes of Anthony Gregory missing too.
“But on Tuesday we had our strongest 16 for a while, and even though we’ll have a couple suspended and maybe even one or two having departed by Saturday, we remain unbeaten at home which gives us something to fight for against a side who are doing very well and who are top for a reason.”