Wrens win dogfight the Wright way
Evo-Stik League Division I South
Rainworth MW 2 Spalding United 0
Report by Gordon Foster
RAINWORTH made it 10 points from their last five games as their climb away from the threat of relegation continued at Kirklington Road on Tuesday night.
However, visiting bottom club Spalding’s gutsy show made the Wrens work hard for the victory, which was not finally sealed until the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, but which also gave them their first clean sheet at the back since 5th September.
New boy Max Wright, playing only his third game for the club, added to his own 34th minute opener with that killer goal as the Tulips battled hard for an equaliser.
The win lifted Rainworth two places in the league table, above both Leek Town, who lost to Romulus, and Market Drayton, who were due to play Carlton the following evening.
Spalding also entered the game on the back of a good result, having beaten Ant Lynam’s new club Sheffield despite a brace for the former Wrens striker—a result which is understood to have seen their boss Chris Dolby step down afterwards.
Once again it was virtually a case of ‘bring your boots and you’ll get a game’ for the injury-hit Wrens, although the influential Mark Camm was restored to the side having sat out Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Belper.
But Ryan Carolan, Tommy Hannigan, Craig Charlesworth, Matt Baxter, Matt Roberts, Ian Clarke (who was on the bench) and Danny Simpson were all sidelined through injury while Craig Mitchell was also unavailable.
It meant Lewis Jackson dropped back to the left of defence, while Kyle Gee-Pemberton was handed a starting shirt on one flank opposite Wright—the two exchanging sides from time to time and proving a handful for the Tulips’ defence.
At the heart of the home defence Cameron Fearon continued his success story since his conversion from right wing back with another composed , solid and thoroughly professional performance.
There is no doubt that this was a proverbial ‘six-pointer’, and it showed during the opening exchanges as neither side managed to establish any early command.
Spalding did win a second minute corner, but that apart it was fairly routine stuff until the 11th minute , when a foul by Jason Keale on Gee-Pemberton to the left of the visitors’ area saw Wright’s free kick take a deflection for a corner which Nathan Thackley dealt with comfortably.
Stef Frost then headed a trademark long throw from Rob Paling straight at Thackley before Spalding responded, Fearon ending a threat from Corey Currithers and Matt Kennedy.
Rick Brewer became the first of five Spalding bookings on 15 minutes for a foul—not that they were over-physical for three of their cautions came from over-use of the lip rather than any other part of the body.
In Spalding’s next attack two minutes later Kennedy pulled up in mid-run with an apparent pull, and was replaced by Jake Outram.
Rainworth certainly were not having things all their own way, and Josh Nodder’s free kick caused some problems in the home box until Fearon managed to head away.
But Rainworth then won a couple of corners in quick succession after Keale had deflected Gee-Pemberton’s centre, Barry Alberry heading the second of the two just over Thackley’s bar.
Former Grimsby forward Jammal Shahin was always prominent for the Tulips but when he went on a busy run along the right and centred there was no-one in the six-yard box to capitalise.
Brewer cleared a Wright header at the post as Rainworth still struggled to find a breakthrough, but they finally got it in the 34th minute. A swift move along the left saw Frost send Gee-Pemberton clear along the left, the former Teversal youngster put over a perfect cross, which Wright ran in through a crowd of players to meet and put away.
Spalding were far from fazed by the setback, and after a jinking forward run Jake Thompson’s finish parried by Mark Hales, Alberry completing the clearance.
Spalding began the second half in determined mood and, within 15 seconds of the restart, Keale’s cross-shot beat the far post.
The visitors seemed to sense that something was there for the taking for them, and Hales was forced to save with his feet when Outram set up a chance for Currithers.
Spalding were well on top at this stage, and after Paling had headed away Currithers’ dangerous centre, Fearon did an excellent bit of police work as Shahin tried to burst through.
When Rainworth did finally work their way back into the game Keale cleared Gee-Pemberton’s angled effort off the line, and Nick Langford’s follow-up was wide.
Then Cooksey’s header from a corner was also blocked on the line, before the industrious home debutant brought a diving save out of Thackley.
Both sides huffed and puffed during the final quarter of the game, with Spalding still bidding for the equaliser and Rainworth looking to make the three points safe.
But the game was in the fourth and final minute of added time when the decisive goal came the Wrens’ way, Wright coming in from the flank to meet Frost’s cross. Brewer tried desperately to hook the ball away from under the bar, but an assistant’s flag told referee Mr Benton that the ball had crossed the line.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Paling, Jackson, Fearon, Alberry, Cooksey, Wright, Camm, Langford (Hewitt 83), Frost, Gee-Pemberton. Subs not used: Naylor, Thomas, Briggs, Clarke.
SPALDING: Thackley, Keale (Self 76), Brewer, Goosey (Freeman 83), Pawson, Holding, Currithers, Thompson, Kennedy (Outram 17), Nodder. Sub not used: Chappell.
REFEREE: David Benton of Sheffield.
GOALS: Rainworth—Wright 34, 90+4.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Rainworth and overall—Cameron Fearon. Spalding—Jammal Shahin.