More Bounce than Tigger!
Rainworth MWFC continue to show an improvement on poor pitches.
Rainworth’s visit to Barton Town had fallen foul of a waterlogged pitch on four previous occasions and although it was eventually able to be played at the fifth time of asking, on the night it was the pitch that proved decisive.
The water that had prevented the tie being played since November was no longer in evidence, in its place a hard bobbly pitch that made anything but ‘route one’ football a lottery!
It was no surprise therefore that the game ended goal less and although it was only the 3rd time this season Rainworth had failed to score in the league, they were only denied by a post and an incredible save by the Barton keeper.
The most satisfying statistic on the night was that this was the third match in a row that Rainworth had kept a clean sheet a factor that if they had produced earlier in the season would most surely have seen them competing in the top six.
It was Barton who had the better of the early exchanges as Rainworth soon realised that their neat passing game would be impossible on such an unpredictable surface.
It took until the 15th minute for either goal to be threatened when a Barton free-kick was headed just wide of the Rainworth upright.
Three minutes later it was Declan Brewin whose goal bound effort was blocked after Liam Morris had battled to win the ball.
The closest Barton where to come to scoring came in the 22nd minute when a lucky deflection fell at the striker’s feet, but his cross cum shot beat everyone and went out for a goal kick.
Rainworth were unlucky not to have taken the lead in the 28th minute when Brewin made space only to see his shot beat the keeper and rebound to safety off the post.
Ben Townsend saved with his legs as he just won the race to the ball on the edge of the area.
Rainworth were now coming to terms with the pitch and in the 36th minute Brewin’s cross only needed a touch with the goal beckoning.
Rainworth finished the half the stronger and only a world class save in the final minute of the half prevented Morris’s effort finding the top corner.
The pattern of the second half was much the same as the first with the pitch dictating an aerial route as the only option and both sides continued to struggle to put anything of note together.
In the 71st minute Rainworth brought on Jamie York for Nathan Clarke and a minute later he was almost on the score sheet but his effort just cleared the bar with the keeper beaten.
It was a game where Barton had the greater possession but Rainworth carried the greater threat going forward.
In the 73rd minute Ricky Hanson’s great Crossfield ball found Morris and only a last ditch tackle prevented a goal scoring opportunity.
With Rainworth probing another long ball from Matt Plant found Liam Theakstone and Morris was only inches from away from converting his well-directed cross.
In the final minute Rainworth were given a scare but the effort went well over.
Both sides to their credit tried to play football on a pitch that was always going to be the winner and that was reflected in the 0-0 scoreline.
Rainworth: Townsend; Wilson; Sykes; Cheeseman; Plant; Hanson; Clarke (York); J. Edridge; Brewin; Morris; Theakstone. Subs (not used): Andrews; C. Widdowson.
Man of the match: Matt Plant