Wrens fall at Coles Lane dustbowl
Evo-Stik League Division One South
Romulus 3 Rainworth MW 0
Report by Les Lee
COLES Lane, Sutton Coldfield, is a far from happy hunting ground for Rainworth if this season is any guide.
For the Wrens suffered their second defeat at the West Midlands venue this season on Tuesday night when, having previously lost 5-1 to landlords Sutton Coldfield Town, they went down to three unanswered second half goals by tenants Romulus.
Rainworth, already depleted by work commitments, were further hit by injury when, following the loss of Danny Simpson and Ian Clarke to hamstring pulls on the previous Saturday, defender Tommy Hannigan pulled out with a back strain. That meant a return to a central defensive slot for Cameron Fearon, while Ryan Carolan returned to the side on the left of midfield.
Meanwhile young reserves Jonathan Drake and James Fanfarillo were on the bench alongside joint boss Lee Wilkinson.
It was a match which was never going to see any attractive football played due to the poor state of the pitch, which was without a doubt the worst surface the Wrens have played on this season—rock hard, bumpy and with virtually no grass down the middle, and with dust clouds floating whenever anyone kicked the ball.
The first half was fairly even with few chances at either end, but the Roms seemed to be coping with the state of the ground better than Rainworth were.
The Wrens’ attractive one-touch football, which had been a feature of previous games, was not working with the pitch making ball control a lottery.
Romulus created the better chances, and in the 11th minute home skipper Phil Male headed wide from a cross.
Six minutes later Dean Baker saw his shot from the edge of the area charged down and then held by Mark Hales in the Rainworth goal.
Rainworth’s first chance came from Lee Briggs’ long throw in to Matt Baxter just inside the area, but his shot flashed narrowly wide.
On the half-hour a foul on Kyle Gee-Pemberton saw Max Wright float his free kick dangerously into the near post from the left, but that was cleared, and when Romulus responded to win a 36th minute corner Hales managed to clear the inswinging ball off his line.
As half time arrived Rainworth were looking comfortable in defence, but all that changed in the opening seven minutes of the second period.
Within a minute of the restart Romulus were ahead when Gavin Day lobbed over Hales.
And the lead was doubled in the 52nd minute by Nathan Walker who drove home from the edge of the area low into the corner.
Both goals were the result of poor clearances, and all the good first half work was undone.
Hungry for more goals, Romulus began to carry the game to the visitors, and they got their third on 66 minutes. A vicious long range shot from Robert Evans kicked up off the surface and slipped past Hales into the net.
Rainworth sent on Drake and Fanfarillo for Gee-Pemberton and Chris Hewitt, pushing Lee Cooksey up front, and his physical presence made some difference as the Wrens created a couple of half-chances, with a shot from Cooksey deflected for a corner and Fanfarillo heading wide from Drake’s free kick on the right.
Lee Briggs gave yet another good account of himself, defending well on the left side and, in the latter stages making some good runs down the left.
But it was Cooksey who gained his first Wrens’ man of the match since joining from Sheffield in February.
ROMULUS: Cooper, Robert Evans, Richard Evans, Paskin (Robinson 46), Male, Day, Walker, Link, Baker, Johnson, Jackson. Subs not used: T. Evans, Simpson, Exall.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Baxter, Briggs, Fearon, Charlesworth, Camm, Wright, Cooksey, Ghee-Pemberton (Fanfarillo 74), Hewitt (Drake 65), Carolan. Sub not used: Wilkinson.
REFEREE: Geoff Law of Leicester.
GOALS: Romulus—Day 46; Walker 52; Robert Evans 66.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Cooksey.