An Emotional Rollercoaster.
It brought to an end a week to forget!!
It has been well documented this week about Rainworth MWFC’s decision to take voluntary relegation from the Evo-Stik League. The announcement by the league out of the blue on Monday evening, after asking the club originally to keep the decision under wraps has made the clubs final fixtures extremely difficult.
The effect today was that two players for whatever reason weren’t available and a further senior player refused to play and only agreed to be a non-playing substitute, make of that what you may.
The premature announcement had already made this bottom of the table clash meaningless, with only pride at stake and the unavailability had put ever more pressure on what is only a small squad.
Within 3 minutes of the kick off the situation got even worse when Oliver Brock had to replace Chris Bettney with what appeared a hamstring injury.
It had been a low key start by both sides and the first chance came in the 7th minute when Steve Brannan headed over for Kidsgrove when well placed.
The next 15 minutes saw Rainworth dominate and in the 10th minute Leon Osborne’s through ball found Darren Mansaram and his well hit shot easily beat Joe Hemmings and went in off the upright.
They should have added to their tally when a few minutes later the ball found Thomas Pereira, but he delayed his shot and was driven wide.
They went even closer in the 16th minute when Mansaram fed Osborne and his return pass found Mansaram whose shot was blocked. The ball rebounded to Romaine Graham and his effort too was blocked and cleared.
A minute later Rainworth doubled their score when Osborne set up Mansaram and he passed the ball past the keeper and into the net.
Kidsgrove threatened in the 24th minute when the ball found Anthony Malbon but his weak effort was easily gathered.
It was still Rainworth though who looked the most likely to score, and when Danny Williams through ball found Graham his fiercely hit shot was somehow held by Hemmings.
In the 32nd minute Malbon jinked his way into the area, showing why he was once the scurge of Conference defenders during his time with Kidderminster Harriers, but he hit his effort wide.
It was now Kidsgrove’s turn to dominate and Brannan saw his first effort well saved by Reay and his follow up sail over the bar.
A minute later they were thankful that their defensive lapse was headed over by Malbon.
Kidsgrove were taking advantage of the breeze on their backs but they continued to spurn their chances.
Rainworth were forced to make their second substitution of the half when Glodi Bange replaced Osborne.
It was still all Kidsgrove but Matt Bell put his effort over the bar.
Rainworth did create a rare opportunity when Kuwesi Ofushine played in Mansaram his lay back to Pereira deserved better but he put it wide.
The final couple of minutes of the half saw firstly Bell’s effort deflected for a corner and then Ross Davidson shot over the bar.
At the half-time whistle Rainworth lead by two goals but in a game of spurned chances by both sides.
Rainworth were given a wake-up call in the 52nd minute when Reay pushed Malbon’s effort wide at the expense of a corner.
It wasn’t heeded and in the 54th minute Malbon beat the offside trap and hit his shot under the keeper to give Kidsgrove hope. A minute later Malbon miskicked when well- placed and Rainworth continued to live dangerously.
The equaliser came in bizarre fashion when in the 57th Reay saved the free-kick but as he hit the ground the ball escaped his grasp and ended up in the net. It was a rare mistake from a keeper who has played well since he arrived form Buxton.
Rainworth made their final substitution with Ian Robinson coming on for Williams.
Rainworth took the lead once again when in the 63rd minute with ball bouncing in the area when it found Tommy Hannigan he needed no second invitation to hit the back of the net.
A minute later and the scores were level when a cross beat everyone but Bell played it back to Brannan and his volley gave Reay no chance.
Kidsgrove were getting on top again and Malbon’s effort was blocked by Hanniigan at the expense of a corner. The resultant corner was headed wide by Brannan as Rainworth failed to deal with it.
Rainworth were now virtually down to ten men as Mansaram was a passenger with a back injury, he however deserves a lot of credit for soldiering on to the end.
A tired Rainworth however once again were caught out by a corner as the ball once more cleared everyone and found Brannon’s head and he made no mistake.
Still Rainworth pushed forward and in the 89th minute Freeman’s header hit the crossbar and Graham’s follow up header was headed off the line.
The pressure was only relieved when Hannigan was booked for a high foot in his attempt to put the ball over the line.
The final action of the game came in the final minute when Elliot Hodgett-Young’s effort flew inches wide of the upright with the keeper well beaten.
At the final whistle the home crowd were left wondering what would have happened if the missing players had played.
RAINWORTH: Reay; Bettney (Brock); Hodgett-Young; Hannigan; Freeman; Pereira; Williams (I.Robinson); Ofushine; Graham; Mansaram; Osborne (Bange). Sub (not used): Dan White.
Referee: Mr Abbas Khan.
Man of match: Dean Freeman