It was hard to believe it was the same team.
Today’s Evo-Stik Division One South game at home against Romulus was considered to have the potential for Rainworth to collect some valuable points in their quest to move to mid-table safety. With three difficult fixtures to follow and with the improvement shown since the arrival of the new management team, this was an opportunity for the home fans to see just what they were made of.
However they completely fluffed their lines, putting in a performance that was anything but what was required and they were deservedly beaten 2-0.
When asked for his thoughts, joint manager Gary Sucharewycz replied, “Unrecognisable, too many players not at it today, never getting on the front foot. This is the first time this has happened under our tenure and we are expecting a reaction at Goole on Tuesday night."
There was nothing in the early exchanges to suggest the below par performance, in fact the first chance of the match fell to Rainworth. Debutant Oliver Brock’s cross being met by Dean Freeman’s head and it took all off Maxime Fondop’s long reach to pluck it from just under the top corner.
Romulus immediately broke down the field and after hesitation in the Rainworth defence, Ashley Jackson found himself unmarked on the edge of the penalty area. His lob was inch perfect and it gave Liam Roberts no chance as it found the corner of the net, yet another goal conceded in the 4th minute this season.
Rainworth reacted and in the 7th minute Rainworth were unlucky not to equalise when Brock found Grant Ryan who skipped by his marker and laid the ball back into Alex Haughton’s path. His well hit shot had Fondop going the wrong way, but it fortuitously took a deflection off a defender.
From the corner Craig Mitchell’s cheeky back heel flick was just tipped over by Fondop, but the referee inexplicably awarded a goal kick.
It was a strange game Rainworth had a lot of possession but were unable to turn it into goals, whilst Romulus always carried a goal threat on the counter attack.
As the half progressed Rainworth started to lose their shape and Romulus began to dominate the midfield, with a second goal always a possibility.
They almost paid the penalty in the 22nd minute when Liam Roberts mishit clearance found a Romulus shirt and only a well-timed Brad McGowan tackle recovered the situation.
The second goal came when once again Rainworth failed to deal with a through ball and although Roberts made an excellent finger-tip save, Courtney Baker-Richardson was on hand to guide the rebound into the net.
Rainworth continued to create half chances but weren’t able to threaten Fondop’s goal. In fact the nearest they came was in the last minute of the half when a wayward back header had him saving at full stretch.
The half came to an end with Romulus deservedly leading 2-0 and the home fans bemused at such an off par Rainworth performance.
Rainworth immediately made a couple of substitutions with Matt Jones and Theo Brown coming on for Brock and Haughton.
There was a slight improvement in the second half, but in truth for the most part neither side really looked like adding to the score.
Alton Rennalls found his way into the referee’s book in the 61st minute for a professional foul, in a half that was increasingly being played in the middle of the pitch.
Although Rainworth were having the majority of attempts on goal, none of them looked like troubling Fondop.
In fact in the final minute it was Romulus who nearly extended their lead when the ball fortuitously fell at Jackson’s feet only for Roberts to pull off a top class save to deny him.
That was to be the final action of a match everyone at Rainworth hopes was a one off, it wasn’t the defeat that hurt so much more the manner of it.
RAINWORTH: Roberts; McGowan; Andrews; Hannigan; Freeman; Rennalls (Whitman); Brock (T. Brown); Mitchell; Ford; Ryan; Haughton (Jones). Subs (not used): J. Brown; Williams.
Referee: Declan Bourne (Chilwell)
Man of Match: Tommy Hannigan