Why does winning 3 points take so much effort?
With the final relegation place virtually now between Rainworth MWFC and Kidsgrove Athletic, with both meeting at Kirklington Road next Saturday, a win today at Norton United would put the pressure back on Kidsgrove.
The result next week may even be superfluous with Norton announcing this week that they would be reigning from the league at the end of the season.
The game kicked off with the first chance falling to Rainworth’s Leon Osborne in the 3rd minute but his weak effort was easily gathered by Danny Roberts.
Norton were undaunted and in the 7th minute Kyle Diskin hit his free-kick into the wall and his follow up went wide.
They went even closer in the 11th minute when Lee Cropper’s cross was struck on target by Diskin only for David Reay to tip it onto the bar and out for a corner.
Norton were starting to have the better of the exchanges but Richard Smith was well wide with a free-kick.
On 31 minutes Cropper caught Reay out of goal but his goal bound effort was headed off the line by Dan White.
A minute later and with Rainworth failing to clear their line it was Joe Beaumont who struck his effort well over. Then Diskin’s was unlucky to see his effort just clear the upright as they continued to pressure the Rainworth goal.
Rainworth squandered a golden opportunity when Romaine Graham was put through and just as it seemed there may be a score, he stood on the ball and the chance was gone.
A neat Norton passing move left Rainworth relieved when Cropper was adjudged offside.
However on the stroke of half-time Rainworth squandered the best chance of the half when Darren Mansaram somehow headed Chris Bettny’s corner over when well placed.
The wind was now causing both sides problems and Reay was almost caught out in the opening minutes of the second half, when he failed to gather a high ball, but Dean Freeman was on hand to head it off the line.
The breakthrough came in the 57th minute when Gino Kelleher latched on to a through ball and his cross was crashed home by Graham.
Rainworth were having a period of pressure and when Elliot Hodgett-Young found Osborne his cross was almost put into the net by Graham, only for the referee to penalise him for a foul on the keeper.
They should have doubled their score in 70th minute when a neat move between Graham and Osborne found Mansaram with only the keeper to beat but he hit it straight at him and it was cleared.
Then Graham wasted a good opportunity when he broke clear and once again the shot was straight at the keeper.
It looked as though they would pay for their wastefulness but when Smith was one-on-one with the keeper he hit it wide when it seemed easier to score.
In the final minutes Chris Baker’s effort when too close for comfort as Norton tried desparately to equalise.
In injury time Glodi Bange had a chance to calm Rainworth’s nerves but he too hit straight at the keeper and it was easily gathered.
When the whistle went Rainworth were a relieved side and whilst they had enough chances to make the game safe they were never in a position to relax.
Rainworth’s strength is their defence once again magnificently marshalled by Dan White and in the last few weeks they have only conceded more than one goal against opposition in the play-off places once. It has been 248 minutes since they last conceded a goal, a tremendous achievement by a team fighting relegation.
However the attack must start taking responsibility and begin converting their chances or else they may find the 3 points gained this week all in vain if they lose next week’s encounter with Kidsgrove Athletic. Whilst that result may yet be irrelevant, neither side are guaranteed a reprieve through Norton United's misfortunes.
RAINWORTH: Reay; Bettny; Hodgett-Young; White; Ofushine; Kelleher; Whitehead (Pereira); Graham; Mansaram (Bange); Osborne. Subs (not used): Williams; I.Robinson.
Referee. Mr. S. England.
Man of the match: Dan White