Christmas Cracker almost turns into a Pantomime
An end-to-end game which produced six goals and a plethora of goalmouth incidents was almost ruined by the villain in black.
Rainworth felt aggrieved by the harsh red card shown to Liam Jepson in the 18th minute and the man in black exacerbated that card by just talking to one of the opposition for a far worse tackle minutes later.
In a game that was close to boiling-point at times was made worse by a referee whose only action was to warn persistent offenders, even when their foul count was well in excess of the fingers on his hands. It was testament to both sides that any football was played at all.
Rainworth were quickly out of the blocks and in the opening minute Jepson’s effort went just wide of the upright as Lewis Soal advanced. Borrowash were not to overwhelmed and started to cause Rainworth problems with their quick counter-attacking style.
It was Rainworth however who came closest to scoring but in the 11th minute after an excellent build-up Nick Fry’s effort put his effort over the crossbar. A minute later and Borrowash had Jack Fetherston to thank as he blocked Josh Asuman’s fierce goal-bound drive.
The match was becoming end-to-end and Andy Francis did well to block Josh Matkin’s effort, minutes later the incident that almost ruined the game as a spectacle. Jepson was involved in a tackle with Dan Matkin. There seemed at best a yellow card but when the referee brandished a red card there were howls of disbelief from both players and home fans alike. That displeasure was only made worse, when shortly afterwards a two-footed tackle went unpunished apart from the awarding of a foul and a ticking off for the player.
Despite being reduced to ten men Rainworth continued to search for the opening goal and Asuman was unlucky to his effort go just wide of the upright with Soal beaten.
They went even closer in the 27th minute when Joe Toon hit the upright and it was cleared upfield as Borrowash mounted a counter-attack. Charlie Goodwin outpaced the Rainworth cover and his cross into the penalty area was met by Josh Matkin for the opener.
Still Rainworth pushed forward and the Borrowash goal led a charmed life as Asuman’s goal-bound effort was diverted by Soal’s outstretched leg and Callum Pursglove’s follow hit the foot of the post.
In the 39th minute Rainworth had a huge let off as Toon sold Francis short, but Goodwin put his effort wide with the goal beckoning.
Rainworth however were not to be denied and Will Spray headed home the equaliser on 42 minutes from Pursglove’s corner.
The final effort of the half fell to Rainworth but Jonathan Drake’s free-kick flashed inches the wrong side of the post.
It was Rainworth who started the quickest in the second-half and in the opening minute Spray had the ball in the net only for it to be disallowed for offside. As in the first-half when Borrowash capitalised with a quick counter-attack and Goodwin’s effort from outside the area, on 47 minutes, restored their lead.
Rainworth almost levelled immediately but Fry’s lob over the onrushing Soal, bounced on top of the crossbar. At the other end Francis made a good save from Goodwin.
In the 62nd minute Jason Dawson lost his footing allowing Josh Matkin a sight of goal, but his effort lacked power and was easily gathered by Francis.
Rainworth made their first substitution bringing on Scott Taylor for Spray. The home side continued to push for an equaliser despite being down to ten men and toon was unlucky when his goal-bound effort was blocked on the line, at the expense of a corner, by Soal.
In an attempt to freshen up the ten men Rainworth brought on Ben Copestake for Josh Henry, but in the 76th minute lady luck was not with them as Francis great block struck Copestake and cannoned back into the net for a goal.
With time running out Rainworth made their final substitution with Max Curzon replacing Toon. The home side’s never-say-die attitude was rewarded in the 82nd minute when Asuman bundled home Fry’s cross, to set-up a grandstand finish.
The equaliser almost came in the final minute of normal time but Asuman was injured as his header was blocked at the expense of a corner. This meant Rainworth had to play added time with only nine men.
Just when it looked over Rainworth broke and Ethan Wiesztort’s lob beat the onrushing Soal and nestled in the net for the equaliser. It was all Rainworth now and Soal made an excellent save tipping Curzon’s effort over. From the corner the home fans thought they had won the game as they forced the ball over the line. However, the euphoria was short-lived as the referee awarded a free-kick for a foul.
That was to be the final act of a match that everything but a competent referee.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Francis; Henry (Copestake); Toon (Curzon); Drake; Spray (Taylor); Dawson; Wiesztort; Fry; Asuman; Pursglove; Jepson.
Sub (not used): Wright