When Will We Win Again?
Tuesday night saw Rainworth visit the Nanpantan Stadium to take on Loughborough Dynamo in the Preliminary round of the Doodson Cup.
Whilst Loughborough could boast three wins in their opening four league games, Rainworth hadn’t won any so the form book suggested a Loughborough victory.
The other Rainworth statistic is that in all but one of their league and cup games this season they have conceded within the first eight minutes.
After a bright start Rainworth once again conceded early, this time in the 8th minute when Nathan Watson was given too much space and he easily beat Neil West with a firm strike into the bottom corner.
Shortly afterwards this was nearly doubled when Sam Wood curled his shot just wide, as he was once again given too much time and space.
Rainworth’s first real chance came in the 15th minute when Tristram Whitman set up Danny Williams, but his well struck shot went over the crossbar. Their second came in the 19th minute when Craig Mitchells low free kick was blocked and Rob Gill’s follow up went well wide.
Just as Rainworth thought they had worked their way back into the game, Brad Munn caught the defence napping but put his shot wide.
Loughborough however didn’t have to wait too long to double their lead as Rob Norris curled a delightful shot into the top corner, giving West no chance.
It was now Rainworth’s turn and as they nearly scored, but a superb counter attack saw Loughborough race down the other end and Watson made it 3-0 in the 26th minute. Matty Jones was Yellow Carded for an attempted trip in the break, which could easily have been red if he had connected.
The fear was Rainworth with three-quarters of the game remaining were looking at another heavy defeat as they continued to display their old frailties. This changed in the 26th minute when a Gary Atkins shot was fumbled by Alex Pycock and Gill easily tucked the rebound away.
In the 34th minute Loughborough’s Alvin Jarvis played his ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card, when a second yellow card seemed inevitable as he impeded Williams. The referee saw it differently and called over his captain, as he gave Jarvis a stern lecture.
The game was end to end at this stage but there was no other scores as the half came to an end.
The second half started with Loughborough on the front foot and Watson nearly completed his hat-trick with a neat chip that cleared the keeper and bar. This he eventually did in the 54th minute as Rainworth once again failed to clear the ball from Dean Gent’s cross and despite a brave effort by West the ball ended up in the net.
Rainworth brought on Chris Hewitt and Steve Owens for Scott Rogers and Matty Jones, but it was Loughborough’s Gent who almost made it five. It was then substitute Matt Langham’s turn, but his goal bound shot was brilliantly turned round the post by West.
Then in the 71st minute Hewitt scored a sensational goal after beating four or five defenders he struck it under the despairing dive of Pycock.
Rainworth made their final substitution as Dean Short came on for Atkins. The next chance fell to Rainworth as Owens cross falls to Whitman who misses a great opportunity to bring them back into the game.
The latter part of this end to end match was played in the Rainworth half as Loughborough pressed to extend their lead. Mitchell was booked for persistent fouling and Wood’s pile-driver came back off the woodwork with West a mere spectator.
The game ended with Loughborough deserved victors 4-2, and although Rainworth were still too lax with their ball retention and defending, on a positive note they have started to score goals.
Rainworth: West; Rogers (Wood); Coupe; Baugh; G. Short; Atkins (D. Short); Jones (Hewitt); C. Mitchell; Gill; Whitman; Williams. Subs (not used): Gregory; D. Mitchell
Referee: Nicolas Hopton
Man of the Match: Craig Mitchell