Set piece bogey dumps improved Wrens out of FA Cup
RAINWORTH were left disappointed to have exited the FA Cup at the first hurdle after clawing back a 2-0 deficit at New Mills, only to lose to a 74th minute free kick, writes Les Lee.
The Wrens were a good match for the current leaders of their Evo-Stik NPL division, and looked a much better outfit than that which had lost 2-0 at home to the Millers less than a fortnight earlier.
Rainworth were boosted by the inclusion of former Mansfield, Hucknall and Harrogate Town striker Danny Bacon who joined from Worksop Town two days earlier in a bid to end their worrying goals drought, and although Bacon himself did not get onto the scoresheet they did at least end that run.
In fact it was Lee Cooksey and Sean Cann who hauled the Wrens level with goals either side of half time after New Mills had built up a 2-0 first half lead.
Rainworth were straight onto the attack from the start with Lee Briggs probing down the left and putting over a cross which eluded everyone.
The Millers countered with Michael Bowler bringing a near post save out of Gavin Saxby from the edge of the area.
Cameron Fearon was disappointed to head over the bar from a Rainworth corner in the eighth minute, but after Craig Mitchell picked up a caution for a foul on home keeper James Coates.
But the Rainworth defence was forced onto the back foot by New Mills’ short, sharp passing game, although Fearon, Chris Timons and Steve Kennedy worked typically hard to keep them at bay.
Dean Crowe headed just wide for the home side from Luke Horrocks’ cross in the 15th minute, while Rainworth had a half-chance three minutes later when Briggs swivelled onto Ricky Hanson’s well-placed free kick but fired straight at Coates.
However, it was New Mills who broke the deadlock in the 20th minute. Winning a free kick on a counter-attack, the set piece was headed in by Crowe.
The lead was doubled in the 29th minute. Antony Field weaved his way around two defenders on the right and squared for Ashley Stott, who turned his marker and stabbed home from the edge of the six yard box.
Despite the deficit Bacon was making his presence increasingly felt and went close with a shot just over the bar from the edge of the area in the 35th minute.
Then when Cooksey and Cann made ground down the right, Cann’s cross almost brought an own goal before the ball was cleared off the line.
The Wrens were not to be denied though, and in the 39th minute they pulled a goal back. Bacon picked out Cooksey with a pinpoint pass at the far side of goal, and Cooksey smashed a tremendous volley from the edge of the area into the top corner giving Coates no chance.
The goal gave Rainworth a huge lift and they had the home side on the back foot for the remainder of the first half.
Rainworth suffered a setback 10 minutes into the restart when Fearon picked up an injury. Joe Carter replaced him, and four minutes later the Wrens were back on terms. Keeper Saxby played a short free kick to Briggs on the left. His long, searching pass fell to Cann whose half-volley on the turn found the back of the net.
With both sides going for a winner the game took on an entertaining end-to-end nature with the pace of the New Mills forwards always a threat.
However, the next chance fell to Rainworth in the 72nd minute when Briggs fed a long ball into the area, but just as Mitchell was about to pull the trigger the ball was taken off his toe and cleared.
Mills countered, and won a free kick in a central position just outside the area. Free kicks have proved to be Rainworth’s Achilles’ heel this season—both goals conceded at home to the Millers came from that source—and so it proved again as Bowler stepped up to find the top left corner.
Rainworth brought on Lavell White as an extra forward, sacrificing defender Timons, for the last 15 minutes, but although his pace caused problems for the home defence the Wrens could not find the equaliser.
They did go close when White won a free kick in the 87th minute leading to a second corner which Cooksey headed marginally over the bar.
And they had strong penalty appeals turned down late on when White was bundled over in the area. The referee, who had punished lesser offences outside the area, was not impressed and waved away all claims.
Substitute George Zuerner nearly forced a replay two minutes into added time when he received a long through ball on the edge of the area, but keeper Coates had the last word with a fine diving save to preserve his side’s victory.
NEW MILLS: Coates, Bowler, Grandison, Kudiersky, Brown, Curley, Field, Young, Stott, Crowe, Horrocks (Jackson 77). Subs not used: Douglas-Pringle, Pickering, Edridge, Moss, Proctor.
RAINWORTH: Saxby, Fearon (Carter 55), Briggs, Hanson, Kennedy, Timons (White 77), Cooksey, Clarke (Zuerner 68), Mitchell, Cann, Bacon. Subs not used: Mayman, Francis, McCormack.
REFEREE: Mark Duncan of Warrington.
GOALS: New Mills—Crowe 20; Stott 29; Bowler 74. Rainworth—Cooksey 39; Cann 59.
MEN OF THE MATCH: New Mills—Dean Crowe; Rainworth—Ricky Hanson.