Injury hit Wrens make it two wins from three
Evo-Stik League Division I South
Rainworth MW 3 Brigg Town 2
Report by Les Lee
YOUNG striker Nick Langford marked his starting debut for Rainworth with a brace of goals against Brigg Town on Tuesday night that gave the Wrens their second win in three matches.
It was also Rainworth’s first home win since 25th September, and the three points lifted them four clear of the bottom two, and with games still in hand.
Rainworth trailed twice, equalised twice, and then, having gone in front for the first time, held on to their lead to take three deserved points in the pouring rain.
Paul Grimes had given the Zebras a 15th minute advantage which they looked like carrying into the interval until Langford notched the first of his brace three minutes before the break.
Oliver Chappell restored the visitors’ lead eight minutes into the re-start, but Danny Simpson struck back with 20 minutes remaining, and then seven minutes later turned creator as Langford got the winner.
With James Jepson having moved to Hucknall Town 24 hours earlier, Max Wright who moved in the opposite direction in a straight swap made his debut on the right of midfield.
But, already short of players due to the injury bogey which has hampered the Wrens all season, the home side suffered a further blow within the first five minutes, when central defender Tommy Hannigan pulled up with a hamstring injury and took no further part in the game.
Lewis Jackson replaced him, dropping in at left back to allow Barry Alberry to switch to his more usual central defensive role.
In the 10th minute Brigg pushed forward in numbers leaving Alberry complaining that he had been fouled, and with four players advancing a goal looked certain. The ball was placed wide of Mark Hales but Rob Paling got back well to clear off the line.
With the Zebras taking the game to Rainworth they opened the scoring in the 15th minute. A long ball was played to Grimes who took it down in one movement to score with a neat touch.
Hales was in saving action midway through the half, denying Grimes with a blocking save on his six yard line.
Rainworth, facing the wind and pouring rain, finally opened up a chance five minutes later when Matt Baxter headed Jackson’s free kick just wide.
But Brigg broke quickly again and Danny Buttle’s cross won a corner which Hales saved comfortably. He cleared to Simpson on the right flank, and after neat three man move also involving Baxter, Mark Camm shot just over the Brigg bar.
Referee Mr Lawrence flashed a yellow card for the first time following Ryan Paczowski’s foul on Alberry, who then cleared off the line after Hales had parried Grimes’ shot down.
Rainworth equalised three minutes before the break when Wright created a chance for Simpson which was cleared for a corner. The ball was cleared upfield and in less than 30 seconds Hales was in action saving at the other end. He cleared quickly down the left and Langford made a strong run before being fouled outside the area. He took the free kick himself and placed it superbly into the top left corner.
Brigg replaced injured keeper Andy Pettinger with deputy Robert Zand at half time, but Rainworth’s second half began in the same way as the first, with injury to a key player. This time the unlucky man was Baxter, who was replaced by Kyle Gee-Pemberton.
Brigg regained the lead in the 53rd minute when Hales could only scramble a testing cross off the line, and Chappell was there on the six yard line to drive it home through a crowd of players.
Rainworth responded immediately by attacking though Simpson and Langford, whose well struck shot was blocked by Zand and cleared.
Simpson created himself another scoring opportunity but again Zand made a fine save at the expense of a fruitless corner.
Another chance went begging on the hour when Zand was penalised for picking up a back pass just outside the six yard box. A side-pass from the free kick was intercepted and cleared.
But the equaliser arrived five minutes later. Simpson received the ball from a throw in, turned his marker, and drilled a low drive into the corner of the net.
Rainworth were enjoying a good spell, carrying the game to their highly placed visitors, and they took the lead in the 72nd minute.
Paling played a long pass down the right to Simpson, who succeeded in pulling the ball back from the by-line to leave Langford with a simple tap in.
The Wrens had turned the game around but still had 18 minutes plus any added time to play out. They defended well in that time, but were not guilty of sitting back as the game flowed from end to end, Simpson looking dangerous each time he received the ball.
The back four of Paling, Alberry, Cameron Fearon and Jackson held firm with some assistance from midfield general Camm who never stopped running and working all match, while Wright seemed to settle on his debut as the game went on and looks a good addition to the squad.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Paling, Alberry, Hannigan (Jackson 5), Fearon, Baxter (Gee-Pemberton 50), Wright, Camm, Simpson, Langford 9Hewitt 83), Frost. Sub not used: Wilkinson.
BRIGG: Pettinger (Zand ht), Spall, Barrett, Bowsley (West 85), Hellewell, Jacklin, Chappell, Steele, Grimes, Paczkowski, Buttle (Cochrane 75). Sub not used: Housham.
REFEREE: David Lawrence of Barnsley.
GOALS: Rainworrth—Langford 42, 72; Simpson 65. Brigg—Grimes 15; Chappell 53.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Simpson.