Lavell-y! White strikes to earn a draw
LAVELL White came up with an 88th minute equaliser to earn Rainworth a deserved draw against Blue Square Bet Premier Alfreton Town’s first team squad.
After a goalless first half Reds boss Nicky Law made five interval changes, and within five minutes of the restart one of his substitutes, Jordan Hall, had put the Reds ahead.
A 1-0 defeat would certainly have been no disgrace against a club three divisions higher, who slammed 14 unanswered goals past a hapless Sheffield Wednesday side the previous weekend.
But the Wrens deserved better, and White’s late strike ensured that the horrors of the midweek 4-0 home defeat by Long Eaton were well and truly erased.
Incredibly, Rainworth could have been 3-0 up inside the first 12 minutes as Craig Mitchell glanced a second minute far post header wide from a corner—two minutes later White broke clear into the area but was forced just wide enough for Dan Lowson to be able to parry the finish—and in the 12th minute Mitchell beat Lowson only to see Adie Hawes pop up to clear off the line.
Gradually Alfreton began to show a little more of what they were made of, and after Joe Carter had cleared Connor Franklyn’s cross, Jamie Mullan shot wide from the ensuing long throw in.
Rainworth had a scare when referee Mr Karaivanov penalised Steve Kennedy for a foul on the edge of the area, ignoring the backing in that led to the offence, but Nathan Arnold’s chipped free kick was too high.
Rainworth, though, continued to show enterprise with White catching the eye. But it was keeper Gavin Saxby who ensured that the Wrens turned round level with three excellent saves towards the end of the first half.
Firstly the giant keeper was down well to turn Hawes’ downward header around his post then, in the 44th minute, he tipped former England C international striker Paul Clayton’s header from Franklyn’s free kick over the bar and, from the ensuing corner, was down well again to deny Anton Brown.
But, with Alfreton making five half time changes, Saxby was beaten five minutes into the restart with a goal out of nothing, Hall chipping a delightful effort just under the angle from the edge of the area.
Mitchell’s attempted diving header just failed to meet Ricky Hanson’s driven cross in the 56th minute, but as both sides made several substitutions the game lost its earlier flow for a time.
One of Rainworth’s subs, Ollie Wood, lasted only a few seconds before suffering concussion in a clash of heads in the 77th minute. With all Rainworth’s other subs used, Mitchell—whom Wood had replaced—returned to the fray.
Nathan Jarman wasted a great chance to double Alfreton’s lead two minutes later, but it was Rainworth who finished the game on top.
Three minutes from time Mitchell beat Matt Wilson and ran on goal but, with the equaliser looking certain, the striker chose the wrong option, trying to set up Hanson with a pass which was disappointingly under-hit.
However, the Wrens had to wait only another minute for the equaliser they deserved when White hit home past deputy keeper Ross Turner from the left of the area.
RAINWORTH: Saxby, Paling, Carter (Briggs 63), Fearon, Kennedy (Timons 67), Clarke (Jones 68), Ward, Cooksey (Rowley 68), Mitchell (Wood 76, Mitchell 77), White, Hanson.
ALFRETON: Lowson (Turner 63), Law, Franklyn (Kasiama 66), Streete, Young (Wilson ht), Hawes, Mullan (Mackin ht), Brown (Hall ht), Clayton (Jarman ht), Senior (Moult ht), Arnold.
REFEREE: Hristo Karaivanov of Sutton-in-Ashfield.
GOALS: Rainworth—White 88. Alfreton—Hall 50.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Rainworth—Lavell White; Alfreton—Jake Moult.