A Tale of Two Penalties
Rainworth travelled to Loughborough Dynamo desperate for points with games fast running out and with them occupying one of the relegation places.
Their displays since the beginning of the year have been good with the exception of the visit to Market Drayton. However their points tally has been poor in these games winning and drawing just one, when with a little bit more composure and belief it could and should have been much more.
Today was to prove yet another ‘if only’ when they once again failed to capitalise on the guilt-edged opportunities in the first half.
As early as the first minute Elliot Brown ran on to David Reay’s goal-kick, but from a tight angle shot wide.
In the 4th minute with a little more composure they should have taken the lead when Elliot Brown found Theo Brown but his shot was too near Joe McCormack and he made a fine save.
Loughborough came back and in the 6th minute Reay fumbled a cross, but to his relief Joe Pheasant hit his effort well over.
A couple of minutes later and Leandro Brown’s cross was just headed over by Alex Britton. It was developing into an end to end game and whilst both sides gave the ball away they went forward at every opportunity.
Reay was happy that no Loughborough players were following up when in the 12th minute he only gathered Tom Liversage’s effort at the second attempt. Shortly afterwards Romaine Graham cut out Scott Meer’s cross at the expense of a corner.
The game continued to be end to end and in the 25th minute from a corner Graham’s effort went just over the cross-bar.
In the 32nd minute it was Mason Holwell’s turn as he headed just over as both sides contested the ball.
Theo Brown then put his effort wide, before in the next attack his shot was blocked and Dean Freeman’s follow up cross was just too long.
Back at the other end Meer’s cross skidded across the face of the goal, needing the merest of touches much to Rainworth’s relief it evaded everyone, going out for a goal-kick.
Then a couple of minutes of pantomime that could have changed the course of the match, when both sides were awarded penalties with contrasting outcomes.
The 42nd minute saw Rainworth awarded one when Josh Raven was brought down in the area, only for Freeman to put his spot kick the wrong side of the post with McCormack diving the right way.
Two minutes later it was Loughborough’s turn when Graham was adjudged to have brought down Alex Britton. Darryl Thomas stepped and showed how to convert from the penalty spot, sending Reay the wrong way.
Seconds later the whistle went for the end of the half and in a very competitive half the difference was down to a penalty miss and conversion.
The start of the second half saw both sides threaten but neither could find that elusive final ball.
Holwell came close in the 59th minute but his headed effort went over.
The 62nd minute saw Rainworth replace Elliot Brown with Glodi Bange and it nearly reaped dividends when Danny Williams cross was only just cleared before Darren Masaram’s head made contact.
Matt Langham had a couple of efforts the first blocked by Freeman for a corner and the second sailed well over.
A minute later a mix up between Dan White and Reay almost gifted Niall Dawkins, but Freeman blocked his effort at the expense of a corner.
In the 83rd minute Rainworth replaced Danny Williams with Aboubacar Sylla as they went in search of the equaliser.
They almost found it in the 86th minute as a long throw found Graham and only a goal-line clearance prevented it.
It wasn’t long in coming however as Rainworth produced the move of the match when a quick passing move found Graham who made space for himself and comprehensively beat McCormack for the equaliser.
Loughborough were now resorting to route one and Antony Marriott put his effort from distance well over.
The final chance of the game came to Rainworth, when after another quick break it was Graham again, but his effort flashed just past the upright with McCormack a spectator and the game ended all square.
The game had been contested by two teams who wanted to win, unfortunately neither had the composure in the final third to worry their opponents.
In fairness to Rainworth when they moved Romaine Graham up front in the last ten minutes they looked a threat and on another day he could well have had a hat-trick.
RAINWORTH: Reay; Raven; Freeman; Graham; White; Ofushine; Williams (Sylla); Kelleher; E.Brown (Bange); Mansaram; T.Brown. Subs (not used): Brock; I.Robinson.
Referee: Mr. Nick Hobbis.
Man of the match: Josh Raven.