Wrens five minutes from back to back wins
SAM Williams’ lucky equaliser for Tividale five minutes from time denied Rainworth a second successive victory and left them settling for a point.
But it was still a crucial point at The Beeches, given relegation rivals Kidsgrove Athletic’s 6-0 defeat at Lincoln United, and it lifted them a third point clear of the bottom two.
Rainworth had not been at the races in the first half, but thanks to some wayward finishing by the Birmingham outfit, and some stout defending of their own, with Josh Raven and skipper Dan White particularly impressive, they turned round with the scoresheet still blank.
And Tividale were punished for their earlier profligacy in the 53rd minute when Romaine Graham flicked David Reay’s mighty clearance to the opposite area over advancing home keeper Charles Price.
As the hosts pushed forward late on in search of an equaliser it looked as if the Wrens defence would perform a shut-out until a wayward shot from David Bellis struck the head of the seemingly unwitting Sam Williams and rebounded into the net.
It was an equaliser which re-kindled memories of Sheffield’s equaliser a couple of weeks earlier. That was an own goal, but this was just as fortunate in its own way.
Rainworth began with the same starting line-up that had done so well against Sutton Coldfield a week earlier, but for the first half that’s where the similarity ended.
An early long clearance on the wind by Price forced Josh Raven to head behind for a corner under pressure.
That was cleared, but Tividale forced a succession of further flag kicks, with Rainworth struggling to find any cohesion on a difficult surface in a swirling wind.
Chris Field blew two good chances for the hosts in the 12th and 17th minutes, the first into the side netting and the second wildly off target.
When Rainworth looked to find a way forward through Raven on the overlap in the 23rd minute he was unceremoniously brought down by Zac Foster, who received a booking for his pains.
Leigh Downing was not far wide with a low 25-yarder three minutes later, then five minutes before the break a dreadfully miscued clearance by Reay fell straight to Bellis, who shot well over an empty goal.
There was still time for Field to blow another chance just before the half time whistle, when he was unable to control the ball on the six yard line.
Rainworth emerged for the second half more up for the task in hand, and within two minutes Leon Osborne saw a decent effort clear the bar.
But the Wrens stunned their hosts in the 53rd minute as Graham neatly flicked Reay’s hoofed clearance over the stranded Price.
As the Wrens sought to capitalise, Darren Mansaram was all set for a second goal until Luke Paskin whipped the ball off his toe for a corner, while Gino Kelleher arrowed a wicked 20-yard daisy cutter inches the wrong side of the post.
But gradually Tividale began to re-assert themselves, and the ever dependable Dan White was in the right place at the right time in the six yard box to block after the defence had been carved open by probably Dale’s best move of the match.
Graham was beaten by the bounce of the ball in the home box in Rainworth’s next attack.
Tividale thought they had equalised in the 69th minute when skipper Richard Huckfield forced the ball over the line following a free kick into the box, but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Reay.
And, when the Wrens keeper had recovered from treatment, he pulled off a superb point blank save to keep out Jordan Archer’s close range header.
Referee Chris Husband, who had handled the game well hitherto, upset the handful of away supporters in the 80th minute when Osborne, through on goal, seemed clearly to have been fouled, and instead booked the Wrens striker for the nature of his verbal protest.
Just when Rainworth looked to have got the points in the bag, though, Bellis’ way off target effort hit the head of team mate Williams, and Tividale were level, perhaps deservedly so on balance of play over the whole match.
Even so, Osborne almost won it for Rainworth three minutes later with a half volley that whizzed a whisker wide.
TIVIDALE: Price, Parsons, Paskin, Bellis, Smith (King 70), Huckfield, Field (Leachman-Whittingham 58), Williams, Archer, Downing (Edwards 58), Foster. Subs not used: Evans, Martin.
RAINWORTH: Reay, Raven, Hodgett-Young, Freeman, White, Bettney, Kelleher, Ofushine, Graham, Mansaram (Ryan 86), Osborne. Subs not used: Bange, Brock, I. Robinson.
REFEREE: Chris Husband.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Josh Raven.