Battle Royal –Ends in Stalemate
A titanic battle ends with honours even.
Visitors Staveley Miners Welfare came to Kirklington Road on the back of six wins and one draw in their last eight league games, including the notable scalp of Handsworth Parramore away.
Rainworth on the other hand had only played two games in 2016, winning both and scoring ten goals in the process.
Today’s managers Julian Watts and Brett Marshall are good friends and are both noted for their footballing sides so the encounter promised to be a ‘classic’.
However for the first ten minutes of the encounter it was anything but as both sides battled for control cancelling each other out in the process.
That changed in the 14th minute when a moment of hesitation in the Rainworth MWFC defence allowed Kieran Watson to ghost in and place the ball past the stranded Sam Leigh.
The goal put Staveley on the front foot and for the next five minutes they dominated and looked the team most likely to score the next goal.
As was to be the pattern for the remainder of the match, Rainworth started to get back into the game and Morris’s effort inside the area was blocked.
In the 22nd minute they went even closer when Nick Siddons did well to tip Matt Sykes’s free-kick over the bar.
A couple of minutes later Siddons was in action again, this time tipping Matt Plant’s shot on the turn round the post at the expense of a corner.
Parity was gained in the 24th minute when a piece of magic from Liam Theakstone beat two players and left Siddons with ‘no chance’ as it arrowed into the corner of the net.
The next effort of any note was in the 35th minute when Jack Barnett’s 30 yard free-kick beat Siddons only for it to rebound off the crossbar to safety.
The last chance of the first half saw Siddons do well to tip Smythe’s 35 yard effort round the post as it bounced just in front of him.
If the first had been slow to get going, the second was anything but as both sides attacked from the start.
In the opening seconds Matt Varley did well to block Syke’s goal bound shot at the expense of a corner.
From the resultant corner it was Staveley who counter-attacked and this time it was Rainworth who were fortunate when Adam Scott’s effort grazed the outside of the post.
Play quickly moved to the other end and this time it was Smythe’s effort that flashed just over the bar.
Rainworth it seemed hadn’t learned from Staveley’s previous counter-attack and this time in the 49th minute they weren’t as fortunate when Watson converted Scott’s cross.
It was Rainworth again three minutes later as Plant just failed to connect with Ricky Hanson’s cross.
Staveley regained some dominance and they were unlucky when Rich Mintoft’s back header came back off the post into Leigh’s grateful arms.
Staveley continued to create chances as Watson found Courtney Hastings but he was thwarted by Leigh’s excellent save.
Leigh was in action again this time make in an excellent save from Ashley Rawson’s effort that was heading for the top corner.
In the 61st minute Rainworth brought on Jamie York for Matt Thompson.
In the 68th minute Staveley almost extended their lead as Watson fed Craig Getliff whose effort grazed the bar.
Rainworth almost equalised when Morris broke and fed Sykes, he laid it into the path of York but he hit it straight at the keeper.
A couple of minutes later they came close again when Barnett’s effort was kicked off the line.
In the 75th minute Rainworth brought on Declan Brewin for Theakstone.
Rainworth continued to press and in the 80th minute it was York’s effort that was cleared off the line.
Rainworth finally got their equaliser when Morris broke and played it into the path of Brewin, his shot going in off the post.
There were chances at both ends but no further goals in a game that had kept the crowd on their toes and at the final whistle there was nothing between the two teams.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Leigh; Hanson; Smythe; Dockwray; Plant; Andrews; Thompson (York); Barnett; Morris; Theakstone (Brewin); Sykes Subs (not used): Clarke; C.Widdowson
Referee: Michael Scriven
Man of the match: Matt Plant