Lynam's hat-trick ends Wrens' winless run in style
Evo-Stik League Division I South
Sheffield 1 Rainworth MW 4
Report by Gordon Foster
Sheffield 1 Rainworth 4—Report by Gordon Foster
IT has been a long time coming, but Rainworth’s first victory since 25th September was given an emphatic score line by Ant Lynam’s well taken hat-trick at Sheffield’s BT Local Business Stadium.
In the event it was an important win, because apart from the bottom two who both lost, the other three clubs in the bottom five all won.
It meant that Rainworth remain third from bottom, but there is now a four point gap between themselves and the relegation places.
And indeed the winning margin could have been even more emphatic, for as in Tuesday night’s draw with Stamford, countless more chances went begging, and the Wrens could and should have had victory sealed by half time.
As it was, goals by Lynam (14) and Craig Mitchell (41) gave them a 2-0 interval advantage, having played into a gale.
Stunned Sheffield made three half time substitutions and began to carry the game to Rainworth after the interval, but Lynam struck again in the 59th minute on a counter-attack.
And although Sheffield’s reply from substitute Nat Foster was almost immediate the home side, for all their efforts, could thereafter not break down a resilient defence—and Lynam completed his hat-trick in the 89th minute with a bizarre goal.
Sheffield’s woe was complete moments later when Andy Gascoigne was shown a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Cameron Fearon, obviously borne out of frustration.
Assistant manager Lee Wilkinson was far from surprised by the win. He said: “It’s been a long time coming but the performances have been there for some time, so we changed nothing.
“We knew that we could not go on playing as we have been for much longer without a win coming, and although we weren’t at full strength we came through well.”
Coach Darren Kelk attributed the win to the tremendous atmosphere within the club, adding: “All the boys are in it together. After Tuesday night’s missed chances we spent a lot of time in training on Thursday on finishing, and it paid off for us.”
A boost for Rainworth was the unexpected presence as sweeper of Mark Camm who declared himself fit after being withdrawn on Tuesday with what had appeared a hamstring pull but turned out to be a back injury.
Barry Alberry replaced the ill Craig Charlesworth to partner Tommy Hannigan in an impressive central defence, while Cameron Fearon returned to right wing back enabling Matt Baxter to return to a midfield into which James Jepson was also restored.
On a sticky pitch and facing a gale, Rainworth were the first to create an opening in the fifth minute when he received Mitchell’s through pass deflected off a defender to go one on one with keeper Dan Whatsize, who spread himself to save with his body.
Sheffield responded with Gascoigne setting up a chance for Brian Cusworth whose angled finish went beyond the far post.
Mark Hales did well to block from Gascoigne in the 10th minute and was relieved to see Cusworth’s follow-up clear the bar by some distance.
But it was Lynam who was first to find the net, timing his run to perfection onto Jepson’s astute through pass to beat the offside and finish clinically.
Four minutes later Baxter ghosted in at the far post to meet Lynam’s curling free kick and volley inches over the bar.
Ian Clarke pulled up with a thigh injury in the 25th minute and was replaced by Rob Paling, but it was Rainworth calling the tune and Whatsize just managed to tip Jepson’s long range attempt for a corner.
Fearon halted Cusworth with an impeccably time challenge in the box in the 39th minute, but Rainworth doubled their advantage three minutes later when Baxter released Mitchell to again beat Sheffield’s woeful offside trap to run clear and score.
It should have been 3-0 in added time, Lynam again going one on one with Whatsize who saved with his legs.
Sheffield meant business for the second half. They made all three substitutions during the break, and began to carry the game to the visitors. Even so Lynam and Mitchell combined to set up Jepson who failed to make a telling connection with the goal at his mercy in the 51st minute.
Rainworth were coming under a lot of pressure, and Hannigan clearly felt a twinge when he stretched to clear ahead of Matt Outram. However, in the 59th minute the Wrens hit on the counter-attack when Ryan Carolan cleared to Lynam who cut in to make it 3-0 with a crisp finish.
That should have been game over, but Sheffield grabbed a lifeline within seconds when Gascoigne won possession in midfield and fed Foster to pull one back.
Although Sheffield were having the lion’s share of possession it was still Rainworth who were creating the better chances, and Whatsize denied Lynam with a brilliant one-handed save, while Lynam’s spectacular overhead volley was too high a minute later.
The game exploded in the 77th minute when Foster responded to a foul by Paling. A mass brawl ensued, leading to bookings for Paling as well as Sheffield’s Foster and Gascoigne, followed on the advice of a linesman by keeper Whatsize.
Lynam claimed his hat-trick in the 89th minute, gleefully gathering a misplaced crossfield pass of some 50 yards from Foster to cut in and complete the rout.
Still Sheffield’s woe was incomplete, for a minute later the frustrated Gascoigne went in two-footed on Fearon which earned him a straight red card without even the second yellow.
SHEFFIELD: Whatsize, Eagers, Wright (Gregory ht), Hadfield, Lowe (Smith ht), Harrison, Roney, Outram, Cusworth (Foster ht), Gascoigne, Woolley. Subs not used: Galloway, O’Brien.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Fearon, Carolan, Camm (Jackson 90), Alberry, Hannigan, Jepson, Baxter, Mitchell (Simms 84), Lynam, Clarke (Paling 27). Subs not used: Roberts, Charlesworth.
REFEREE: J. Waters of Dewsbury.
GOALS: Sheffield—Foster 60. Rainworth—Lynam 14, 59,89; Mitchell 41.
DISMISSAL: Sheffield—Gascoigne 90 (serious foul play).
MEN OF THE MATCH: Sheffield—Dan Whatsize. Rainworth and overall—Ant Lynam.