Outmuscled but not Outfought.
Rainworth had a lot to prove to their fans tonight against one of the Title favourites Handsworth Parramore.
The omens were not good after a lacklustre performance on Saturday against Pontefract Collieries and it wasn’t going to be easy against a side that are direct and physical.
Rainworth got off to the worst possible start by conceding within 2 minutes of the kick-off. It came from a throw in to the feet of Kieran Wells and although his initial path to goal was blocked he turned and his well struck shot appeared to go through Nathan Burrows legs and into the net.
On a positive note there was more crispness in the Rainworth’s passing game, something that had been lacking on Saturday.
In the 7th minute they had a good opportunity to equalise when a neat passing move found Matt Sykes but his volley flew over the bar.
Handsworth almost doubled their score in the 13th minute when Wells was through on goal, but Burrows redeemed his earlier error by making an excellent save.
Wells had another chance in the 18th minute but this time his effort was well wide and went out for a throw in.
Rainworth looked like they would regain parity when a great ball from Liam Morris found Lewis Bingham and as he attempted to round Andrew Sneath he was brought down and the referee immediately awarded a penalty.
Up stepped Matt Sykes but he opted for power and his effort went high over the bar. Rainworth did have the ball in the net in the in the 30th minute when Smeath had saved Bingham’s initial effort but it was ruled offside.
The game seemed to be over in the 32nd minute when Handsworth doubled their score. It was debateable whether it should have been allowed when Luke Weaver appeared to be pushed as he attempted to clear the corner and Sam Denton was left unmarked to head the ball home.
Rainworth threatened in the 38th minute when Sykes found Ricky Hanson but it was headed out for a corner.
It was nearly a complete disaster in the 41st minute when Burrows clearance fell at the feet of Wells and as he rounded the keeper he was brought down. Burrows however made amends for his error and pulled off an excellent save to prevent Danny Buttle increasing the lead.
It had been a very physical half and Rainworth had struggled to stay in the game as the half-time whistle went.
The second half started just like the first and only a good headed clearance by Connor Smythe prevented Wells from possibly increasing the lead.
In the 55th minute Matt Plant was awarded a yellow card as he bundled Wells to the ground.
Colin Marrison’s 70th minute header looked goal bound but a good save by Burrows defused the threat.
Rainworth made a substitution bringing on Lewis Chambers for Matt Thompson.
Still Handsworth pressed forward and Jon Froggatt must have thought he’d scored only to see Burrows make a finger-tip save at the expense of a corner.
Rainworth were now coming more into the game and a great ball to Morris nearly brought the equaliser only for Sneath to make an excellent save at the expense of a corner.
Rainworth finally got on the scoresheet as Hanson’s cross was headed home by Morris in the 80th minute.
Rainworth were beginning to threaten more as Handsworth tired , but in the 87th minute Gareth Campion became the sixth player, the second from Rainworth, to receive a yellow card.
In the final minutes Handsworth were happy to run down time and take the three points.
Whilst Rainworth struggled initially to come to terms with Handsworth’s physicality, they made sure that they had to fight until the end and in the second half almost reigned back the deficit.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Burrows; Hanson; Smythe; Dockwray; Plant; Campion; L. Weaver; Thompson (Chambers); Morris; Bingham; Sykes. Subs (not used): Pereira; Andrews; Bowring.
Referee: Oliver Bickle.
Man of the match: Ricky Hanson.