Extra time woe for Wrens
FA Trophy preliminary round replay
Sheffield 3 Rainworth 1 (aet)
Report by Gordon Foster
TWO goals right at the end of extra time ended Rainworth’s hopes of an extended run in their debut FA Trophy season at the BT Local Business Stadium on Tuesday night.
With the replay seemingly heading for penalties, home skipper Brian Cusworth scored a controversial goal three minutes from the end, and then Andy Gascoigne made certain of his side’s progress with a simple stoppage time tap in.
The extra half-hour came about as a result of Dennis Simms’ 90th minute equaliser on his starting debut for the Wrens, cancelling out Ashley Burbeary’s 40th minute goal for ‘Club’.
Rainworth went into the tie with three of the starters from Saturday’s draw—Jermain Hollis, Ryan Carolan and Danny Naylor—out injured. So manager Rudy Funk drafted in Luke Thomas and Danny Bainbridge to the full back berths and switched to a three up front shape with the inclusion of Simms.
Rainworth did have their chances to win the tie, but it took a spectacular display from man of the match Mark Hales to keep Sheffield at bay until that last gasp double.
However, the Wrens were first onto the attack with former Hartlepool keeper Paul Pettinger smothering Craig Mitchell’s left wing cross in the second minute.
Sheffield winger Matt Outram was fortunate to escape a card for a heavy challenge on Bainbridge two minutes later, and when Bainbridge took his own vengeance on Outram it was left to Craig Charlesworth to head away the ensuing free kick for a corner, which Thomas cleared.
Hales made his first save of note in the 13th minute, turning Ondre Pacek’s strong angled effort around his near post when the wing back was let in by Barry Alberry’s miskick and, as Sheffield upped the tempo, the impressive Charlesworth’s outstretched leg was just enough to deflect the dangerous Ash Burbeary’s incisive pass away from the lurking Cusworth.
Former Alfreton and Gainsborough star man Burbeary was at the heart of much of Sheffield’s build-up play as they continued to carry the game to the Wrens, although the midfield dynamo was being well policed by youngster Thomas and, overall, the Rainworth defence soaked up the pressure.
And when Sheffield did find a way through, there was always Hales in the way, the keeper having to go down well to his right to stop Darryl Winter’s 18-yarder.
But it was Sheffield’s turn to breathe a sigh of relief in the 33rd minute when Brendan Sweeney won the ball and fed Simms out on the right. Simms cut in, drawing Pettinger and beating the keeper with his finish, only to see Jordan Eagers drop back to clear off the line.
And Mitchell would have expected to have done better than fire hurriedly wide from 20 yards after a neat build-up involving Julian Topliss and Sweeney in the 39th minute.
A minute later the miss was punished when Burbeary put ‘Club’ ahead with a peach of a goal. Thomas managed a stretching header away following a ball in from the right, but it fell to Burbeary who curled in a delightful shot from the left of the area just under the far angle to give his side an interval lead.
Six minutes into the restart Pettinger saved at Simms’ feet on the edge of his area following Mitchell’s interception and through pass, and the keeper then punched Sweeney’s accurate free kick off the head of Matt Draper.
The otherwise reliable Hales was caught in two minds at the other end and the back-pedalling keeper was beaten by Eagers’ chipped effort in the 55th minute, but Charlesworth was on hand to head away.
Hales was back to his usual best with a fine double save of Outram’s cross shot from the right, and then made an amazing full stretch stop from a scramble following a home corner, before going down to keep out Winter’s wickedly deflected effort.
Mitchell went close with a 25-yard shot on the turn in the 65th minute, and then 12 minutes later blew a great chance of an equaliser when, having beaten the offside onto Sweeney’s visionary through pass, he blazed over the bar.
Hales denied Eagers again at the end of a defence-splitting four man move three minutes from time but, just when it seemed all over for the Wrens, Simms’ 25-yard low drive took just enough of a deflection to guide it out of Pettinger’s reach and into the corner of the net and set up the extra half-hour.
Some great work by substitute Cameron Fearon set up fellow sub Aaron Moxam six minutes into extra time, only for the youngster to chip his finish wide, before Hales came into his own again with a succession of excellent saves.
Firstly he denied Gascoigne in a one-on-one, then a brilliant double save thwarted the same player as he blocked the shot and then somehow, while still grounded, managed to hack the ball away to safety before the Sheffield sub could take another bite of the cherry.
And the keeper had the home fans tearing their hair again when he saved at the feet of Burbeary.
Rainworth hit back in the second period of extra time, with Moxam hooking Alberry’s ball into the box too high.
There was a moment of controversy when Alberry and Burbeary clashed following a foul by the Sheffield man who went prostrate in the area, but Mr Holmes was unimpressed and merely awarded the free kick to Rainworth.
But more controversy led to Sheffield’s 117th minute goal. Pettinger had failed to hold a corner and Charlesworth shot just too high from the edge of the area. The goal kick was played upfield and there appeared to be a hand ball before Cusworth was played in to beat Hales.
And, with Rainworth throwing everyone forward in search of an equaliser at the end they were caught on the counter-attack again, Burbeary setting up Gascoigne for a simple tap in at the far post.
SHEFFIELD: Pettinger, Wright, Pacek, Smith, Lowe (Jones ft), Eagers, Outram (Gascoigne 82), Winter, Cusworth, Graham (Harrison 90), Burbeary. Subs not used: Davis, Jackson.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Thomas (Fearon 66), Bainbridge (M. Hewitt 76), Alberry, Charlesworth, Draper, Baxter, Simms, Mitchell, Topliss (Moxam 66), Sweeney. Subs not used: Hunt, Dobbs.
REFEREE: Adrian Holmes of Pontefract.
GOALS: Sheffield—Burbeary 40; Cusworth 117; Gascoigne 120+1. Rainworth—Simms 90.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Mark Hales.