The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
No not the 1966 film starring Clint Eastwood, but the 2012 FA Cup Preliminary tie between Sleaford Town and Rainworth MWFC at Sleaford.
The Good was the first 25 minutes when Rainworth gave a virtuoso performance and but for great defending and two offside decisions the score could well have been 5-0. The home fans made the comment, “These have got to be one of the best teams to visit us in the last year or so”.
The performance started from the kick off and after four passes Rainworth’s Ian Holmes had the ball in the net with 11 seconds on the clock. Then firstly on 8 minutes a great ball from Danny Bacon to Ewan Clarke who struck a quite stunning shot for what seemed like the second goal only for the linesman to rule it offside. Two minutes later Ewan Clarke found Ian Holmes with yet another superb ball which he dispatched into the net with a wonder strike; once again the linesman deemed it offside.
In the 11th minute Clarke was bundled over in the penalty area; which the referee waved play on and then a few minutes later a great shot from Ian Holmes was well saved by the keeper. It would be fair to say that this constant onslaught lasted for the full 25 minutes with Sleaford’s best defender being ‘the linesman’. The decline was brought about by Rainworth taking their foot off the gas and Sleaford’s realisation that to compete in the game it would have to become a physical encounter. In the 30th minute from one such encounter Ian Holmes received a very nasty cut to the head; which left him off the field for a full 10 minutes receiving treatment. During this period with Rainworth down to ten men Sleaford started to come more into the game.
The Bad was the remainder of the game when apart from a short period at the end of the half when Rainworth’s Blair Anderson rounded off yet another stunning move with a quiet delightful shot into the top corner to make the score line 2-0. Not long after the half time whistle brought the first half to an end.
The game restarted with the game continuing to deteriorate, this nearly paid dividends for Sleaford as Tony Evans capitalised on a defensive error on the halfway line in the 52nd minute, racing through and coolly slotting it over the advancing keeper.
The Ugly was the remainder of the game where both sides had players booked as tempers flared, with retaliation seeming to be the response to a rather weak display by the referee. In the 59th minute Ben Spargo replaced Ewan Clarke and in the 62nd minute was booked for delaying a free kick. In the 64th minute Barry Payne replaced Jared Holmes and in the 74th minute Sam West replaced Blair Anderson. Players from both sides were now getting booked at regular intervals with Sam West 85th minute and Ian Holmes in the 87th; being the two Rainworth miscreants.
It would be fair to say that both sides could count themselves lucky to end the match with eleven players. Rainworth had only themselves to blame for making the contest last the full 90 minutes it should have been over before half-time. The home fans comments had now changed to, “If only we’d played like that the whole game.
SLEAFORD : Hewitt; Murrell; Fenton; Jones; Braithwaite; Bishop; McCormack (Shaw 80mins); Jackson; Edwards; Oliver (Stones 74mins); Tunstall (Llewelyn 85Mins). Subs (not used): Popple; Rawdon; Lovett; Halifax.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini; Walker; Goward; Camm; Cooksey; Bacon; Lloyd; J. Holmes (Payne 64mins)); Clarke (Spargo 59mins); I. Holmes ; Anderson (West 74mins) . Sub (not used): McCormack.
REFEREE: Paul Vardy
WRENS Man of Match: Mark Camm