Rainworth Leek Goals
Rainworth given a painful lesson.
Rainworth’s Evo-Stik Division One South campaign started with a fixture at the promotion favourites Leek, that coupled with the fact that manager Scot Rickards had resigned three days earlier had made the fixture even more daunting. The fans who travelled had a lot of sympathy for the task that faced Assistant Manager Dean Short against one of arguably the strongest teams in the League.
The game started well with Rainworth more than matching Leek in the opening exchanges, then a moment to forget. In the 3rd minute Dan Shelley hit a speculative shot from the edge of the area. What should have been a routine save for Neil West, turned into a nightmare as he allowed it to slip from his grasp and into the net for the opening goal.
Still Rainworth pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but in the 8th minute they went further behind when having failed to defend a corner Sam Hall stuck out a leg and diverted it into the goal. In the 15th minute Rainworth had a chance to pull one back, but as Tristram Whitman set up Craig Mitchell but his shot just cleared the bar.
Leek were having the better of the exchanges and almost added to the score as Niall Maguire hit a screamer, only to see West make a brilliant save. West was on hand again in the 25th minute to prevent Matt Bell adding to the score, however the respite was short lived as Maguire’s next effort from the edge of the area found the back of the net. This was once again as a result of poor defending having failed to cut out the initial cross.
As half time approached Rainworth nearly pulled one back as Matty Jones set up Whitman, but the shot was wide of the post. Shortly afterwards Bell was booked for a foul on Kieran Coupe and there was still time for Jones to hit a shot just past the upright. As the half time whistle went, Rainworth were left to rue the three goals they had gifted Leek.
The second half started with Leek’s Tim Grice hitting the bar in the first minute and Rainworth going straight down the other end, earning a corner as their goal bound shot was blocked. Rainworth continued to play some neat football, but their failure to keep the ball continued to be their downfall.
In the 50th minute Chris Hewitt replaced Mark Dudley who had not been able to shake off a leg injury. Things got even worse for Rainworth as Ashley Jackson’s innocuous shot from outside the area somehow avoided West’s outstretched hand for goal number four.
Three minutes later it was becoming embarrassing as Niall Maguire scored Leek’s fifth as his shot went through a wall of players and into the corner of the net. Whitman’s mazy run almost pulled one back, but the shot went the wrong side of the upright.
The last goal of the game was scored by Andrew Kinsey in the 90th minute from the penalty spot to bring to an end a thoroughly miserable day for Rainworth. The lesson to be taken from this game is that at this level, lapses in concentration will be punished and that scoring opportunities must be converted.
Rainworth: West; Baugh; Williams; Charlesworth; Dudley (Hewitt 50); Magee; Owens (French 62); Jones; Whitman; Mitchell; Coupe (Rogers 68). Subs (not used): G. Short; D. Short.
Referee: Mr. Matthew Pope.
Man of Match: Craig Charlesworth