Wrens bomb on with first home win
Substitute Matt Millns popped up with an 87th minute winner to turn a seven-goal see-saw of a match against Market Drayton Town Rainworth’s way.
Millns gleefully rose to nod home after Alex Ford had headed a deep corner back into the six-yard box, to provide the Wrens with their first home win and their first Saturday points of the season.
But joint boss Gary Sucharewycz described the seven-goal bonanza as Rainworth’s worst performance of the four since he and Ian Robinson took Kirklington Road hot seat just a couple of weeks ago.
“I would have preferred a 1-0,” said Suchaewycz, “but I’m delighted with the three points, although at the same time we didn't capitalise on the first 20 minutes when we dominated, and let them come back into it.
“It was probably the worst we have played of the four games since we have been here, but we showed the character to keep on coming back from conceding goals.
“I had said previously that we would probably take two steps forward and one step back, and despite winning this was a step back. Even so, we would have taken the six points out of 12 from our first four games when we first started.”
Skipper Craig Mitchell gave the home fans hope with his 28th-minute opener, but Jack Watson levelled for the Shropshire outfit five minutes before the break, during a fairly dour first half eclipsed by the spectacular passage of two low-flying, slow-flying Lancaster bombers over the ground 16 minutes in.
It was also eclipsed by a much livelier second period in which the lead swung back and forth like a pendulum. Tommy Hannigan’s header restored a 59th minute lead for the Wrens but Watson again levelled and then substitute Aidan Haughton had the visitors in front, before Alex Ford again squared matters and veteran Millns had the final say.
It looked promising for Rainworth early on, with Danny Williams’ fourth minute free kick going for a corner from which Notts Counyty loanee Brad McGowan headed just over.
But the ball was spending too much time in the air with those planes as the half went on, and gradually the visitors began to make their mark, with Iain Edmunds’ long range effort in the 24th minute having Liam Roberts stretching to save.
However, four minutes later Rainworth were ahead. McGowan launched a long throw into the box, Drayton failed to clear adequately, and Mitchell let fly from just outside the area with a veritable rocket into the top right corner.
Edwards wasted a good chance of an immediate equaliser when he headed a far post cross off target. And then three minutes on Dave Harry brought another full stretch save out of Rainworth’s Walsall loanee keeper Roberts.
But five minutes before the break a corner was not dealt with and Watson drilled his low shot through a packed area past the unsighted Roberts.
The young Wrens keeper was forced to redeem himself in the opening moments of the second half when his miscued clearance fell at the feet of Haughton, but he managed to save as the Drayton substitute had the goal at his mercy.
Rainworth made a change 10 minutes into the second half sending Jack Andrews on for his competitive debut at left back while pushing the impressive Theo Brown further forward in place of Williams. And it brought dividends four minutes later when Brown was upended. Namesake Jamie Brown place his free kick from the left beyond the far post from where Ford headed back across goal and Hannigan rose to nod in.
It could so easily have been 3-1 moments later, Ford pouncing on Oleksandr Ilchenko’s miscued clearance, but Kevin Street rescued his keeper with a challenge that had to be perfectly timed to avoid conceding a penalty.
However, the visitors were right back in it in the 64th minute, when Watson’s tame free kick from 20 yards somehow squirmed through the defensive wall, hit the foot of the post, and went in.
Ten minutes later a peach of a crossfield pass by Rob Millington picked out the overlapping Jake Bennett whose low cross was touched home by Haughton, and Drayton were ahead for the first time.
Their lead lasted just six minutes before Grant Ryan ran in along the left by-line and lofted a centre which was perfect for 6 ft 6 ins centre forward Ford to head in.
As both sides went hammer and tongs for the winner Watson thwarted Ford with a brilliant tackle in the area as the Wrens striker broke clear.
But then Ilchenko denied Ford with his legs at the expense of a corner, from which Ford’s height told again, and his header across goal was met by the head of Millns to restore the lead.
After that a flurry of chances at both ends saw Haughton go uncomfortably close from distance, then, as the game entered stoppage time, Ford’s volley came down off the underside of the bar. As with Loughborugh’s controversial winning goal at almost exactly the same spot a week earlier, none of the officials could say with any certainty whether the ball had crossed the line, so this time it was rightly disallowed, although Tris Whitman headed the high bouncing rebound into the net, only to see it ruled out for offside.
RAINWORTH: Roberts, McGowan, T. Brown, Freeman, Hannigan, Mitchell, J. Brown (Millns 81), Rennalls, Ford, Ryan (Whitman 81), Williams (Andrews 55). Subs not used: Coupe, Baugh.
MARKET DRAYTON: Ilchenko, Bennett, Edmunds, Street, Spooner, Watson, Campbell (Donaldson 74), Whieldon, Harry (A. Haughton 34), O’Reilly (O’Neill 83), Millington. Subs not used: C. Haughton, Jones.
REFEREE: Peter Henger of South Yorkshire.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Craig Mitchell.