Dave makes it a 'Walk-ov-er' as Wrens crash
Evo-Stik League Division I South
Kidsgrove Athletic 4 Rainworth MW 0
Report by Gordon Foster
Pictures by Derek Bentley
FOR the second Saturday in a row Rainworth fell victim to an individual scoring performance.
Seven days earlier it was Goole’s Gavin Allott who hit the Wrens with all five of the Vikings’ goals, and on this occasion it was Kidsgrove’s ace marksman Dave Walker who notched all four to take his tally for the season to 14.
Walker notched two goals in each half, the first of his quartet from the penalty spot, but it was far from a solo performance by the home side, while Rainworth, frankly, were just not at the races.
What is particularly worrying is that the defence, for so long the mainstay of the side, have suddenly started shipping goals at an alarming rate, while the midfield are creating few chances and even when they do, the front end is lacking a cutting edge. Nevertheless, Wrens fans will do well to remember how far the club has come in a short time before becoming too critical, but after three promotions in four years they appear at this stage to have hit a ceiling.
Matt Baxter strove hard for Rainworth, and Craig Mitchell did hit the post two minutes before Kidsgrove’s fourth goal, but that was as good as it got for the visitors, and they were not helped by an injury to Jermain Hollis, who had again impressed in the first half but had to be replaced for the second.
In the intervening week between their two heavy league defeats the Wrens have showed the positive side of their character with a gutsy display against Barwell in the League Cup.
But they are struggling to find any consistency, and manager Rudy Funk’s insistence on not citing the heavy injury list was vindicated by the fact that the Grove are undergoing similar problems.
Funk insisted also that his side would come through their current poor form, and will be grateful that they now have a 10-day break before the next fixture.
But he also found time to praise Kidsgrove. They are in a false league position—they are well behind with their fixtures, but went into this game with five wins and a draw out of seven league games to date, which shows their quality. And it is true also that most of the sides who have beaten Rainworth this season are at the upper end of the table.
But if it is true that success breeds success, then it becomes obvious what the Wrens must guard against.
Rainworth included new signing James Jepson, whose dad Paul was a firm favourite with the Kirklington Road faithful some years ago, in midfield.
It took Kidsgrove less than two minutes to sound their first warning. Liam Shotton, who ran four-goal Walker close for the overall man of the match, twisted past both Craig Charlesworth and Barry Alberry on the left to win a corner which Karl Charlton headed into the far side netting.
Hollis raised Wrens hopes with a fine run down the left, halted by an equally fine challenge from Charlton, while Julian Topliss’ ball fell unkindly for Mitchell to be able to control it and the shot flew too high.
But Kidsgrove’s overall play was already looking a quality above Rainworth’s, and it was no surprise when they took the lead, albeit from the penalty spot.
The irrepressible Shotton again blazed a path around Charlesworth on the right and, when he delivered a low cross, Matt Draper fouled Adam Beasley in the box, and Walker placed the perfect spot kick low to Mark Hales’ right.
Beasley failed to find a touch onto Charlton’s pull-back from the by-line with the goal at his mercy, but Kidsgrove did double their lead in the 36th minute. Walker pounced on a clearance out of defence and crossed from the right for Walker to glance a delightful header home from close range.
As Rainworth tried to respond Mitchell shrugged off Charlton but could only shoot straight at Steve Intihar.
Lewis Jackson appeared for the injured Hollis for the second half, but the Shotton-Walker link opened up the Wrens defence again four minutes in, Charltonheading Walker’s cross too high from close in.
Rob Paling did well to get in the way of a blistering effort by Shotton, in the 57th minute, and then Tim Sanders, left in space when the visiting defence was pulled to one side, shot straight at Hales.
However, it was 3-0 in the 61st minute. Jackson’s poor free kick from the right was straight into the wall, and Sanders broke with electric pace down the left, with Walker on hand to sweep home the ensuing low cross.
Walker might have had his fourth just three minutes later but screwed his finish wide following Alberry’s loose pass.
Rainworth’s best move of the match, in the 66th minute, almost brought a goal back, Mitchell and Topliss working a flowing interchange on the right, and Mitchell was desperately unlucky to see his will struck shot come back off the near post to safety.
Two minutes later, though, Kidsgrove struck on the counter-attack again, almost inevitably through Shotton. He was injured by Draper’s challenge but still managed to release the ball to the unmarked Walker whose glorious 25-yarder gave Hales no chance.
Kidsgrove substitute Chris Broad picked up a booking for simulation after going down too readily under Hales’ challenge in the area, but then brought a diving save out of Hales as the home defence became increasingly pressured into errors but managed to hold out without further punishment to the final whistle.
KIDSGROVE: Intihar, Morris, Charlton (Bridge 74), Ward, Harper, Beasley (Dove 78), Matranga, Sanders, Walker, Shotton (Broad 73), Hall. Sub not used: Turner.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Fearon, Hollis (Jackson ht), Alberry, Charlesworth, Draper, Baxter, Paling (Wilkinson 68), Mitchell, Topliss (C. Hewitt 80), Jepson. Subs not used: Hunt, Dobbs.
REFEREE: Steve Copeland of Wallasey.
GOALS: Kidsgrove—Walker 20 (pen), 36, 61, 68.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Overall—Davel Walker (Kidsgrove); Rainworth—Matt Baxter.