Rag Tag Army Give Pikes a Mighty Fright
Even after a great second half performance it still left a sour taste!
Intransigence had meant that Rainworth MWFC had been forced to visit Pickering not only with their captain and also their leading scorer unavailable but four other first teamers, who were appearing in an U21 Cup Final that same evening.
Such was Rainworth’s plight that hours before kick-off the secretary was on the verge of telling the league they would be unable to raise a team.
With a 200 mile plus round trip it was proving difficult to get any registered fit or even half- fit players to commit to a journey of that magnitude. The fact that the management team were able to put a side out at all is testament to their efforts, one that included two juniors and a 45 year old manager.
Rainworth had been unbeaten in their last six league games (4 wins & 2 Draws), but when they turned around at half-time trailing 4-0 there seemed no possibility of that run continuing. A second half performance full of passion and determination reduced that deficit by two and with a little more luck may have even drawn level, giving Pickering a massive fright in the process.
From the start Pickering were on the front foot and the crowd jumped in unison as early as the 3rd minute to celebrate the opening goal, unfortunately for them the ball was in Ben Townsend’s hands and not the back of the net as he pulled off an amazing save.
The 7th minute saw Matt Plant block yet another goal-bound effort and it fell into Townsend’s grateful arms once again.
Pickering weren’t to be denied and when a through ball found Ged Dalton, his first time shot beat the advancing Townsend for the opener.
Their second in the 17th owed a lot to a piece of good fortune as youngster Carter Widdowson diverted a free kick into the top corner of his own goal, giving Townsend no chance.
The situation got from bad to worse when in the 24th minute Dalton had the simplest task of side-footing a cross into the net.
Rainworth’s first and only threat on the Pickering goal of the half came in the 25th minute when Liam Theakstone’s effort flashed just past the post.
It took until the 31st minute for Matthew Turnbull to head home Pickering’s fourth from a corner.
At this point the travelling fans feared the worst but a monumental effort from Rainworth prevented any further score as the half-time whistle sounded.
The second half was a complete turn-around as Rainworth began to take control and in the 54th minute manager Julian Watts ended his valiant effort when he was replaced by Cameron Mitchell.
A minute later they had pulled one back as Jordan Edridge found Theakstone who rounded the keeper and put the ball in the net.
Rainworth doubled their score in the 64th minute through Theakstone again after a mix-up in the Pickering defence.
Theakstone almost got his hat-trick in the 80th minute when his fierce drive went inches the wrong side of the upright.
There were chances for both sides in the final minutes, on 90 minutes Townsend turned a goal-bound effort around the post and Theakstone was once again denied his hat-trick when the keeper just managed to get fingers on the ball as he was attempting to round him once more.
At the final whistle it was a very relieved Pickering Town and a Rainworth side wondering what might have been.
RAINWORTH: Townsend; C. Widdowson; Sykes; Watts (Mitchell); Wankiewiecz; Plant; Clark; Nelthorpe; Theakstone; Thompson; J. Edridge.
Man of the match: Liam Theakstone