Goal at last but too little too late
RAINWORTH are still seeking their first FA Trophy success after their second campaign fell at the preliminary round stage to local rivals Hucknall Town.
The Wrens did at least have the consolation of seeing their 457-minute-long goal drought ended when debutant substitute Adam Somes headed home Mark Camm’s angled ball into the box at close range.
But it was still too little too late for the Wrens who could not keep a grip on the lifeline that the Mansfield Town Academy youngster’s goal had thrown them.
Rainworth had had the better of a goalless first half and had strong penalty claims rejected when Yellows skipper Wayne Diuk clattered into Somes’ fellow Stags youngster Joel Holland.
But a rare error by the normally dependable Tommy Hannigan let in Grant Ryan to break the deadlock six minutes into the restart.
And when Aiden Brady clinically slotted Callum Lloyd’s astute 80th minute through ball it seemed Rainworth’s fate was sealed.
However, the introduction of Somes and Sean Cann had added a new sharpness into the home attack, but they remained unable to carve open the Town defences again in those final few minutes.
Cann was a surprise inclusion on the bench after having been ruled out in midweek through an injury picked up against Belper a week earlier.
But some eyebrows were raised when Somes, scorer of more than 20 goals for Stags’ Academy already this season, was left on the bench given the dearth of goals so far, with Lavell White and Danny Bacon preferred up front.
However, Holland was given his chance and looked promising, only to make way for his Field Mill team mate for the final half-hour.
Hucknall included three ex-Wrens in James Jepson and Matt Baxter starting and Phil Massingham on the bench but unused.
The Yellows edged the opening 10 minutes with Lee Briggs in the way of Brady’s fifth minute goal attempt and Hannigan clearing when Town’s best player on the day, Nathan Watson, found a path around Holland on the right.
Hucknall keeper Jack Harvey was extended for the first time in the 10th minute saving at the feet of Bacon from Briggs’ long throw in.
As Rainworth began to take a grip on the former finalists in the competition, Bacon was allowed to run on by referee Ryan Newman with Hucknall appealing for a free kick on the half way line, but, playing against one of his former clubs, the ex-Stags striker delayed, allowing the Hucknall defence to recover, and his final effort from 25 yards flew wide.
Then, when White won Rainworth’s first corner in the 19th minute Harvey failed to hold the delivery but dropped onto the ball before anyone else could find the crucial touch.
Jared Holmes limped off in the 24th minute to be replaced by Kieran Watson, but White was unlucky to see his point blank attempt stopped on the line from a free kick, and then Ricky Hanson sent a 20-yarder skidding just wide on the greasy Kirklington Road surface.
Loud penalty appeals went unheeded when Diuk charged back to clatter into Holland in the left of the Hucknall area in the 25th minute and Mr Newman awarded only a corner.
Camm uncharacteristically twice gave the ball away, first in the 34th minute, but McCormack saved well from Ryan in a one on one, then six minutes later when Lloyd looked to capitalise McCormack turned the angled shot around his near post.
But it was Rainworth who carried the threat at the end of the half, with the busy Bacon heading a difficult ball over after Hanson’s initial shot hit White, cannoned upwards, and then dropped somewhat unkindly for the home front man.
Four minutes into the restart Bacon was just too far underneath Lee Cooksey’s cross into the six yard box, but it was Hucknall who grabbed the advantage two minutes later, Ryan capitalising on a rare slip-up by Hannigan to fire low into the corner from the edge of the area.
Cann replaced White two more minutes on and almost made an immediate impact. Linking well with Holland, his finish had the sting taken out of it by a defender’s boot and Harvey was able to save.
Ryan had the ball in the net again in the 55th minute after McCormack could only parry livewire Nathan Watson’s shot on the run, but Ryan had strayed into an offside position.
Somes made his appearance in the 61st minute, but we were denied the chance of seeing the two Stags youngsters operating together for it was Holland who made way.
Cann blasted over in the 65th minute when a chip might have served better from eight yards, after Bacon’s persistence enabled him to set up the chance. And shortly afterwards Cann cut in from the left but his cross shot found no boot to apply the finish. At the other end Hannigan atoned for his earlier error popping up to block on the line after Nathan Watson.
Rainworth were certainly looking sharper again after losing their way a little following the goal, and Cann saw a wicked shot on the turn go wide as goals continued to elude them.
And it was something of a sucker punch when Town doubled their lead in the 80th minute with Brady receiving Lloyd’s precise through pass, drawing and firing past McCormack.
Somes marked his debut in the 87th minute with a brave header onto Camm’s accurate centre from close range.
But it was not until the fourth minute of added time that an equaliser was threatened, but Cann’s low delivery did not match the quality of his run down the left.
RAINWORTH: McCormack, Fearon, Briggs, Hannigan, Kennedy, Camm, Hanson, Cooksey, White (Cann 53), Bacon, Holland (Somes 61). Subs not used: Paling, Timons, Mitchell.
HUCKNALL: Harvey, Walker, Jepson, Diuk, Graham, Baxter, N. Watson (Goodacre 83), Lloyd, Ryan, Holmes (K. Watson 24), Brady (Gamble 83). Subs not used: Massingham, Isamene.
REFEREE: Ryan Newman of Barnsley.
GOALS: Rainworth—Somes 87. Hucknall—Ryan 51; Brady 80.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Rainworth—Danny Bacon. Hucknall and overall—Nathan Watson.