Wrens denied win by Wright's wonder show
Evo-Stik League Division I South
Rainworth MW 2 Stamford 2
Report by Gordon Foster
RAINWORTH were surely kicking themselves for not ending their long winless run in Tuesday night’s draw against Stamford.
For the first time this season the Wrens created a plethora of chances, more than enough to have won by a handsome margin, but despite two well taken goals from Craig Mitchell the killer instinct which could and should have despatched the Daniels was not quite there.
Stamford keeper Chris Wright stood between the home side and their first win since September with a succession of one-on-one saves as the Wrens looked far from a side embroiled in a relegation battle.
But they fell behind to Lee Beeson’s superbly struck 25-yard free kick in the 15th minute—it must be said, controversially awarded by Sheffield official Anthony Tankard.
However, Mitchell notched two goals of supreme quality, one each either side of the interval, to put Rainworth well and truly in the driving seat, only to be punished for not taking more of the many openings that came their way to kill the game off when Beeson got his second just after the hour mark.
Rainworth had gone into the match having been hit by a couple of setbacks. Firstly recently signed midfielder Josh Burge had decided to leave, apparently in the belief that he could earn more elsewhere, and then a hitch in negotiations meant that an expected new striker could not be signed in time to play, while Cameron Fearon was unavailable through work commitments.
And as if those were not enough, impressive recent signing Mark Camm tweaked a hamstring midway through the second half and now looks set for a spell on the sidelines.
Camm, who had started Saturday’s game against Quorn in midfield, reverted to sweeper, Matt Baxter filled Fearon’s role as right wing back, while James Jepson and Ian Clarke were handed starting shirts in midpark.
Stamford edged a bright end to end opening spell, and Rainworth’s Achilles’ heel at set pieces was exposed in the third minute when the Daniels’ best outfield player, Paul Malone, was allowed a free header onto a corner, but Mark Hales saved well.
Matt Roberts volleyed over Wright’s bar in the 10th minute after Ant Lynam had knocked down the again excellent Ryan Carolan’s deep centre, but it was Stamford who took a 15th minute lead in controversial circumstances.
Camm was harshly adjudged to have fouled Andy Toyne some 25 yards out in a 50-50 challenge for which both players were entitled to go in, but there was no doubting the quality of Lee Beeson’s direct shot into Hales’ top left corner.
Mr Tankard then riled the home fans again when he booked the immaculate Tommy Hannigan for a perfect ball-winning challenge.
Meanwhile both sides continued to serve up some entertaining fare with Roberts twice going close from 25 yards and also playing Mitchell down the right to bring a good save out of Wright, while at the other end Hales saved well at the feet of Nathan Adams.
But Rainworth’s 41st minute equaliser was well worth the wait. Clarke’s peach of a pinpoint crossfield pass picked out Lynam on the right, and Mitchell surged in to tuck away his strike partner’s low pull back with glee.
Mitchell struck his and Rainworth’s second three minutes into the restart. Clarke latched onto Wright’s punch and deftly chipped the ball back into the area, where an exquisite flick by the busy striker evaded the stretching keeper and dropped sweetly under the bar.
The Wrens had looked well on top at this stage, and should have added to their tally as a succession of chances came and went.
Lynam, played in by Roberts’ neat through pass, was denied by Wright in a one on one when he attempted to chip the ball over the keeper, who then won a tight race with Mitchell to head clear Jepson’s probing pass over the defence.
And then both Mitchell and Lynam scorned glorious chances to kill the game off.
Those misses were punished in the 61st minute when Stamford equalised from almost their first meaningful attack of the half, Beeson on hand to stab in Adams’ low cross from the left.
That may have been the end of the scoring, but it was far from the end of the opportunities. Just three minutes after the equaliser, from Jepson’s curling free kick, both Lynam and Hannigan saw shots blocked on the line, and then Malone did just enough to deny Lynam another attempt on goal.
Rainworth suffered a setback when Camm limped off in the 71st minute, although substitute Barry Alberry did just as well when he replaced him, but they were again thwarted by the overworked Wright three minutes later, the keeper pulling off an amazing point blank save from Lynam after Craig Charlesworth had had knocked Jepson’s deep free kick back into the box.
Wright came to his side’s rescue yet again with another eyeball to eyeball save from Mitchell.
But then Rainworth were grateful to Hales for saving even the one point in the 87th minute, doing well to deny Adams with his body.
Jepson had the final chance to win it for Rainworth in the third minute of added time with a free kick which took a deflection off the defensive wall for a corner.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Baxter, Carolan (Bainbridge 77), Camm (Alberry 71), Charlesworth, Hannigan, Jepson, Roberts, Mitchell, Lynam, Clarke. Subs not used: Simms, Paling, Wilford.
STAMFORD: Wright, Sedgemore, Jackson, Millson (Burkett 82), Chamberlain, Malone, Beeson, Toyne, Battersby (Oliver 63), Adams, Cotton. Subs not used: Walton, Hill, Swales.
REFEREE: Anthony Tankard of Sheffield.
GOALS: Rainworth—Mitchell 41, 48. Stamford—Beeson 15, 61.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Rainworth—Craig Mitchell; Stamford and overall—Chris Wright.