Wrens stunned by last gasp horror decision
Evo-Stik League Division One South
Rainworth MW 1 Loughborough Dynamo 2
Report by Gordon Foster
RAINWORTH were left fuming at an appalling non-decision by an assistant referee four minutes into added time at the end of a match from which they thought they had taken a point.
With Loughborough substitute Richard Lonsdale unquestionably offside when the ball was played over the defence to him the assistant kept his flag down. Keeper Mark Hales did very well to save Lonsdale’s shot with his legs, but the ball fell kindly for Will Grocott to lash home before the keeper could recover.
The visitors had scored their first goal in first half stoppage time, when Matt Langham was allowed a free header onto former Wren Jay’Lee Hodgson’s cross from the left to the far post.
But substitute Stef Frost hauled Rainworth level in the 72nd minute with the Wrens’ first goal in 252 minutes.
With Rainworth going into the game on the back of three defeats in which they had failed to score, manager Billy Millar had tried to move mountains to bring in another striker.
He landed his man, Hucknall Town’s Danwell Francis, but unfortunately the new man had already joined the Wrens’ ‘walking wounded’ club and was unable to take his place, although he is expected to be fit to figure in the remaining three of a quartet of home games.
And, true to form, although their football matched that of the visitors, the lack of a cutting edge meant they rarely looked like scoring.
Millar himself described the performance as poor, citing the dearth of chances created as the reason why his side did not deserve anything from the match.
To say that they deserved nothing was probably harsh and had as much to do with his own disappointment at the result as anything else, but there is no doubt that this current run of four losses is down solely to a simple inability to provide an effective finish to some decent approach work.
In a bid to find some goals Millar went with a 4-3-3 formation, with Nick Langford, Chris Hewitt and Kyle Gee-Pemberton up front.
Meanwhile Craig Charlesworth partnered Tommy Hannigan in central defence.
Loughborough sounded a warning in the sixth minute when Hales tipped over Langham’s rising shot for a corner which Hodgson headed behind.
Rainworth hit back with some midfield enterprise but without really threatening to unlock an effective Dynamo defence.
There was a moment of panic in the 14th minute when Hales picked up what referee Mr Chester deemed to be a back pass off the knee of Charlesworth, but the keeper redeemed himself with a fine blocking save following the free kick.
And when Grocott knocked the ball back into the area Jack Roberts headed over the bar.
The inspirational Mark Camm, who covered almost every blade of grass in Rainworth’s cause, then got Langford away for Rainworth, but the young striker was let down by his first touch, and although both Danny Naylor and Hewitt had shots blocked in the aftermath the chance was gone.
Another superb flick on by Camm found Langford fractionally offside - and when Langford did subsequently evade the trap he lost out to keeper Laurie Pearson.
Naylor sent Langford to the by-line in the 34th minute, but no-one was available for the los cross into the six yard box.
Hannigan made a superb challenge to deny Hodgson when the former Wren made ground into the home area three minutes later, before the nearest thing to a goal at either end in the 42nd minute. Langford neatly laid off Gee-Pemberton’s cross to Camm, who fizzed a 25-yard effort a whisker wide.
But with the first half two minutes into added time Loughborough struck. Gibbons sent Hodgson on a run down the left, and his cross was met at the far post by Langham who buried a firm header.
The second half began with action contained in midfield, until the 61st minute when Dynamo skipper Carl Noble got in a solid clearing header as Hewitt crossed to the well placed Gee-Pemberton.
Noble was then fortunate to get away without a card for a bad foul which left Hannigan limping.
But Rainworth pulled level in the 72nd minute with Frost on hand to turn the ball home from Rob Paling’s long throw in.
Five minutes later Hewitt shot hurriedly wide when he had a glorious chance to put Rainworth in front, before Loughborough were forced to defend three more troublesome long throws from Paling.
Loughborough stepped up the pace in the closing stages, with Alton Reynolds blowing a clear chance by shooting wide, Matt Bxter clearing Lonsdale’s cross shot off the line, and Rainworth surviving a strong penalty appeal when Lonsdale went down under Charlesworth’s challenge.
But with hosts thinking they had ended their latest losing sequence there was one sting left in the tail with that last gasp controversial winner, just seconds from the final whistle. And although on that blast the Rainworth players and management—not to mention the supporters—remonstrated angrily with the match officials, it was subsequently left to Millar to add a touch of realism with his observation that, once again, not enough chances had been created.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Baxter, Paling, Charlesworth, Hannigan, Cooksey, Gee-Pemberton (Wright 73), Naylor, Langford (Frost 59), Camm, Hewitt (Topliss 83). Subs not used: Jackson, Law.
LOUGHBOROUGH: Pearson, Reynolds, Jenkins, Noble, Jenno, Gibbons, Hodgson (Blackwell 63), Roberts, Langham (Lonsdale 83), Grocott, Edwards. Subs not used: Ross, Way.
REFEREE: Martin Chester of Lincoln.
GOALS: Rainnworth—Frost 72. Loughborough—Langham 45+2; Grocott 90+4.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Rainworth and overall—Mark Camm. Loughborough—Carl Noble.