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Carlton Town
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Mon 30 Aug 15:00 - Evo-Stik League - First Division South Full time Attendance 106

Wrens lose out at Carlton

IF Rainworth are to make any headway in their debut Evo-Stik League season the first thing they must do is to learn to hold on to a lead.

Evo-Stik League Div I South: Carlton Town 2 Rainworth 1 - by Gordon Foster

IF Rainworth are to make any headway in their debut Evo-Stik League season the first thing they must do is to learn to hold on to a lead.

For Monday’s local derby defeat at Les McJannet’s Carlton Town was the second time in three days that they had allowed their opponents to equalise just before half time, and then win it after the break.

Carlton away
23 photos

McJannet, who was a member of the Wrens management team last season as coach, has had to start from scratch as manager at Carlton after previous boss Tommy Brookbanks took virtually the whole of last season’s squad with him to Hucknall Town.

He has brought in the players he knows, many of them from his former club Glapwell, but has also drawn a couple of players from the Wrens, and victory for him must have tasted sweet.

Rainworth could have no complaints about the result. For most of the match the home club were the better side, although the Wrens found a new lease of life in the final 15 minutes and had Carlton hanging on by their finger nails to preserve their win.

Rudy Funk made a number of changes to his injury hit squad, and certainly not all his starting 11 would have worn those shirts in an ideal situation as many were carrying knocks. Indeed it would have done Rainworth a favour if Carlton had drawn their FA Cup tie on Saturday so that the replay would have taken precedence over this game, and would have allowed the Wrens players a week off to get a few players fit.

Mark Hales, Lee Wilkinson, Matt Draper, Brendan Sweeney and Craig Mitchell were all restored to the starting line-up, Danny McLane was drafted into midfield from the reserves—and certainly did not look out of place at the higher level—and Rainworth also welcomed back Jermain Hollis who had moved to Eastwood Town during the close season.

As it was, Rainworth did draw first blood in the 32nd minute through Mitchell, but just before half time Alex Troughton poached an equaliser, and Ashley Kitchen notched a 75th-minute winner from a dubiously awarded corner, one of many decisions by a below par referee which frustrated both sides in equal measure.

Wrens man of the match Craig Charlesworth played veteran striker Neil Grayson particularly well—Grayson may be well into his 40s but he has lost none of his skill or his footballing brain, and the big Wrens defender kept his adversary well in check for most of the 90 minutes.

Charlesworth gave a taste of his personal performance to follow when he stretched a leg to dispossess Grayson in the area as the former Football League player shaped to shoot.

Rainworth’s first chance came two minutes later from a direct free kick from the right, which Ryan Carolan curled too high.

The game took on an end to end nature with Carlton playing the better football, and the hosts really should have broken the deadlock in the 23rd minute, Grayson and former Wren Joe Naylor combining to set up Ricky Gardner, who unaccountably and tamely put the ball well wide of the near post.

Ten minutes later Draper made a vital clearance to deny Naylor, and play immediately switched to the other end where Rainworth broke the deadlock.

Sweeney played an astute through pass, and Mitchell left Mark Clarke for dead, drew and rounded Neil West, and planted the ball into the empty net.

Carlton rallied towards the end of the half, and Hales stretched high to tip away the ball and then recovered to pull off a fine diving save at the far post from Nick Hall’s follow-up angled shot.

But Hales was beaten in the 43rd minute. Wilkinson’s tame attempted clearing header fell to Ricky Gardner who slipped the ball to one side where Troughton was allowed and capitalised on an easy chance.

Even so, Mitchell could have restored the lead in stoppage time from Charlesworth’s knock forward, but he needed too much time in the area, and Clarke closed him down effectively.

For the third quarter of the match Rainworth were just not at the races. But they contributed to their own problems with some poor distribution and some long clearances which were inevitably and immediately returned to their own half.

Carolan uncharacteristically lost out to Rob Darkin to feed Josh Thornton, whose cross just eluded Naylor at the far post, and then Hales clawed the ball off the feet of Grayson but couldn’t keep hold and was grateful to concede a corner.

Rainworth did not show again until the 67th minute when West had to be smartly off his line to clear ahead of Hollis.

But in the 75th minute the referee awarded Carlton what looked a doubtful corner, which was floated in and bundled over the line by Kitchen.

Carlton immediately introduced former Wrens favourite Massiah McDonald, but his influence was limited.

For Rainworth suddenly found a new zest which had been missing for most of the half, and push ed Carlton increasingly back in the closing stages.

Wilkinson’s tremendous volley took a deflection for a corner, and when that was half cleared Lewis Jackson’s 20-yard punt just cleared West’s bar.

In stoppage time West twice punched clear under pressure following another Wrens corner, and when Sweeney sent Julian Topliss into the area his first touch let him down and passed harmlessly wide.

The pressure continued right to the final whistle, but to no avail, with Hollis having a sniff of a half-chance to equalise from a tight angle right at the death, only for West to fall on and smother the ball.

CARLTON: West, Darkin, Fletcher, Clarke, Kitchen Hall (Shaw 73), Thornton, Naylor, Grayson, Troughton (McDonald 75), Gardner. Subs not used: Bonnick, Darling, Trimmer.

RAINWORTH: Hales, Topliss, Carolan (Jackson 54), Wilkinson, Charlesworth, Draper, Baxter (M. Hewitt 68), McLane, Mitchell, Hollis, Sweeney. Subs not used: Jones, Hunt, Dobbs.

REFEREE: Martin Dexter of Leicester.


WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Craig Charlesworth.

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Carlton away
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# Team Pl Pts
16. Leek Town 42 47
17. Loughborough Dynamo 42 46
18. Market Drayton Town 42 44
19. Stamford 42 42
20. Rainworth Miners Welfare 42 40
21. Shepshed Dynamo 42 21
22. Spalding United 42 16

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