Rainworth Battle for a Point!
Reward for a fighting display
Tonight’s Evo-Stik Division One South match at home against one of the promotion favourites Mickleover Sports, took on even more significance after Saturdays 6-0 defeat at Leek Town.
Whilst defeat against two of the teams tipped to be fighting out the promotion places would not in itself be a disaster, another big defeat would most certainly put the team on the back foot.
Mickleover fresh from a victory in their opening game came to Kirklington Road with a team and bench full of Evo-Stik experience and included Rainworth’s former captain Callum Lloyd, in their starting line-up. Rainworth on the other hand had lost their two most experienced players, to injury and unavailability and in Evo-Stik terms were very inexperienced.
On Saturday Rainworth conceded the first goal in the third minute, tonight it took all of 40 seconds. From the kick off Rainworth conceded a foul and from the resultant free kick the ball was met by the head of Mickleover’s unmarked Nico de Girolamo giving Neil West no chance.
For the next few minutes Mickleover began to dominate and were unlucky not to add to their lead. That changed in the 8th minute when a well contested ball fell at the feet of Rainworth’s Matty Jones who ran at the Mickleover defence and coolly put his low shot beyond the keeper for the equaliser.
Rainworth however couldn’t capitalise on this and in the 11th minute had West to thank when he tipped a well struck free kick over for a corner. The relief was short lived as from the corner the ball was met by Karl Ashton and his powerful header gave West no chance, to once again give Mickleover the lead.
Mickleover were now back on the front foot and in the 20th minute Rainworth’s Kieran Coupe was booked for shirt pulling. The game turned once again in the 27th minute when Rainworth’s Danny Williams hit an inch perfect through ball to Craig Mitchell, who calmly clipped the ball over the advancing keeper for yet another equaliser.
At this point Rainworth were having the better of the play and almost scored when from a corner their goal bound shot was blocked. Mickleover’s Karl Demidh was then unlucky to see two well struck shots just go wide as the half came to an end with the scores tied at 2-2.
The second half started much like the first with Mickleover dominating play without being able to breech Rainworth’s resilient defence. Nico de Girolamo hit his shot just wide, quickly followed by Andrew Dales shot just clearing the bar. Rainworth then rode their luck when as the ball bounced around the six yard box they somehow managed to clear it before a Mickleover foot could connect.
In the 60th minute Dales produced another mazy run, but his shot was well saved by West. This was quickly followed by a Demihd fierce shot that West somehow managed to stop, at the expense of a corner.
Rainworth were being stretched and it reflected in their tackling and it came as no surprise when debutant Gary Atkins was booked for a late challenge. As tiredness crept in Rainworth replaced Gavin Short and Atkins with Sam Stretton and Lewis Bingham.
In the 77th minute Mickleover should have scored, when after yet another well-constructed move, Simeon Oshoboke somehow managed to put his shot the wrong side of the upright.
In the final minutes Chris Palmer’s shot was tipped over by West and Rainworth replaced Steve Owens with Chris Hewitt. With Mickleover throwing everything at the Rainworth goal, the referee brought the game to an end with the scores level at 2-2.
Tonight Rainworth took a small step in what will be a long journey and if they can add composure to the obvious fighting spirit, their destination may well be of their own choosing.
Rainworth: West; Coupe; Williams; Charlesworth; G. Short (Stretton); Rogers; Jones; Atkins (Bingham); Whitman; Mitchell; Owens (Hewitt). Subs (Not used): French; D. Short.
Referee: Mr Dean Bradshaw (Sheffield)
Man Of Match: Neil West.