Wrens flattered to deceive
Evo-Stik League Division I South
Rainworth MW 1 Quorn 2
Report by Gordon Foster
THIS was without a doubt Rainworth’s most disappointing day under the charge of Billy Millar and Lee Wilkinson.
Performances on the field since the duo took over had been encouraging, high quality new players had begun to arrive, it was only going to be a matter of time before the much needed first win since September was chalked up, and this match against a club in the lower half of the table had the look of being that match.
The reality was different. The fluent passing which had characterised recent matches was gone, the Wrens didn’t start playing until the second half and, with Quorn not much better, what was turned on did little to warm the freezing spectators.
Quorn arrived without a win in their last three games, and with six first teamers absent, but they controlled the first half after grabbing a seventh minute lead.
Although the Wrens were much better after the interval they still lacked a cutting edge, and when another goal arrived in the second minute of added time it was Quorn who got it on the counter attack with Rainworth pushing forward in search of the elusive equaliser.
Craig Mitchell did get one back with the last kick of the match, but by then it was all too late.
Ryan Carolan had recovered from the illness which kept him out of the New Year Monday game at Newcastle Town, and returned in place of the injured Jermain Hollis to put in a quality man of the match performance.
Barry Alberry was drafted back into the side as sweeper to allow Mark Camm to push forward into his favoured midfield role, with James Jepson making way, and Tommy Hannigan made his home debut in the heart of defence.
Meanwhile the Wrens had the boost of fit again Ian Clarke and Matt Baxter on the bench.
Rainworth were disappointingly slow to get going and Quorn were the first to settle. And they took the lead in the seventh minute when Josh Burge fouled Steven Purton on the edge of the area at inside-left. Sam Wood’s curling free kick was not dealt with adequately, it came back off the bar, and Liam Turner was on hand to net a simple goal.
The Wrens appeared strangely dishevelled and almost fell further behind when Purton’s run low and cross set up a glorious chance for Turner, who got nothing onto his attempted flick which went harmlessly to safety.
Mitchell had the ball in Matt Nurse’s net in the 18th minute but referee Steven Meredith had already called play back for a push.
Wing backs Carolan and Cameron Fearon were doing their best to get the home side going, but it was still Quorn who were enjoying the bulk of possession, with Philip Miller flashing a 15-yard effort just wide and Craig Charlesworth making an important blocking challenge on Shawn Richards after Anthony Marriott had set up a half-chance for the visitors.
Ant Lynam, the subject of a seven-day approach by Shirebrook Town’s former Wrens boss Rudy Funk, had a great chance to equalise on the half-hour when he capitalised on Marriott’s complete miskick to charge goalwards, but as impressive Quorn skipper Kris Mathews closed him down his hurried shot was comfortably saved by Nurse.
Rainworth did improve in the second half, and four minutes in Matt Roberts’ half-volley flew wide.
But for all the Wrens’ improved play they tended to break down in the final third, and even when Carolan aimed a pinpoint long free kick from the left Lynam’s flicked effort needed only a routine save by Nurse.
Rainworth made a change in the 63rd minute. The experiment of playing Alberry as sweeper had not really come off, so Camm dropped back into that role and Clarke was introduced into midfield.
The change improved things further for Rainworth, but still there was no end product with Nurse not really troubled in the Quorn goal until the 68th minute when he saved well from Mitchell following a decent interchange between Charlesworth and Burge.
Three minutes later came the best chance of the match hitherto. Lynam timed his run to perfection to stay onside from Mitchell’s through pass and go one on one with Nurse, who spread himself to block the shot which rebounded off him to safety.
Rainworth added an extra striker three minutes later in a bid to find more sharpness up front, Dennis Simms replacing Burge, and then Jepson appeared in place of Roberts and almost made an immediate impact, his rising 18-yard shot from Mitchell’s cross just clearing the bar.
Quorn had been content to sit on their lead and play for time, and Rainworth were given an extra four minutes by Mr Meredith to find the elusive equaliser.
But as they pushed on in the second of those four a long clearance sent Richards on a counter-attack. Aided by a high bounce he got the better of Camm, and was left with the simplest of tasks to end Rainworth’s hopes of salvaging a point.
Mitchell did pull one back right at the end with a good shot but it had no more than consolation value for the disappointed home fans.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Fearon, Carolan, Alberry (Clarke 63), Charlesworth, Hannigan, Camm, Roberts (Jepson 79), Mitchell, Lynam, Burge (Simms 74). Subs not used: Paling, Baxter.
QUORN: Nurse, Marriott, Chiavetta, Buckingham, Mathews, Robinson (White 72), Richards, Wood, Miller (Evans 74), Turner, Purton. Sub not used: Shaw.
REFEREE: Steven Meredith of Retford.
GOALS: Rainworth—Mitchell 90+5. Quorn—Turner 7; Richards 90+2.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Rainworth—Ryan Carolan. Quorn and overall—Kris Mathews.