Baxter at the double as Wrens are comfortable
Evo-Stik League Division I South
Spalding United 0 Rainworth MW 3
Report by Gordon Foster
RAINWORTH managers Lee Wilkinson and Billy Millar returned to one of the sites of their playing days to take three comfortable points off already relegated Spalding.
A fourth minute opener by Chris Hewitt was added to by a brace either side of half time by Matt Baxter, without the Wrens really needing to break sweat.
But once again Rainworth’s injury jinx struck in the 15th minute when both Danny Simpson and Ian Clarke were taken off with hamstring injuries at the same time.
Wilkinson himself made a cameo appearance for the final three minutes plus added time, after Cameron Fearon and Kyle Gee-Pemberton had come on in that 15th minute double change.
Rainworth began brightly and in the second minute Mark Camm was played through into the area, but keeper Leigh Wood was out quickly to gather.
However, two minutes later Rainworth were on their way. Lee Cooksey worked well on the right before slipping the ball back Simpson, who in turn helped the ball on for Hewitt to touch home at close range.
Rainworth continued to apply themselves the better, and in the seventh minute Max Wright and Simpson combined to find Cooksey on the right. This time, though, his cross aimed for Simpson was turned behind for a corner at the near post by Jake Thomspon.
Spalding threatened for the first time in the 10th minute when Alistair Holding eluded Craig Charlesworth, but aimed his 20-yard shot just over the bar.
Cook needed two attempts to save from Hewitt in the 14th minute, but Rainworth suffered a blow a minute later when in separate incidents within seconds both Clarke and Simpson suffered hamstring injuries forcing a double substitution.
The game developed into a midfield contest for a while after this, but Rainworth doubled their lead in the 26th minute. Gee-Pemberton won a corner on the left which Cooksey took, and Baxter arrived in the six yard box to tap in.
There was a scare for Rainworth in the 34th minute when Craig Charlesworth miscued a simple back pass for a corner which was only half cleared to Corey Corrithers whose rising 20-yard drive just cleared the bar.
Then Corrithers broke clear but showed Mark Hales just a little too much of the ball and the keeper was able to claw it off Corrithers’ toe.
It was the Tulips’ best chance so far, but they had another a minute later when their best player on the day, Jammal Shahin, curled a 20-yarder just wide.
However, Rainworth had the final chance of the half when Lee Briggs found Gee Pemberton with a sublime pass. The front man beat the offside but lost control at the vital moment and the chance of taking a three goal lead into the break was gone.
Spalding were quickly out of the traps after the interval and within seconds Fearon had to head a dangerous cross over to concede a corner which the Wrens defence cleared.
When Rainworth responded Gee-Pemberton did well to make ground into the area, but was halted by Jake Thomspon’s excellent blocking tackle.
However, it was Gee-Pemberton’s persistent work on the left which created Rainworth’s third goal in the 52nd minute.
Keeping the ball in play, he pulled it back and Baxter was there to drill home an angled drive from 16 yards.
Spalding to their credit refused to lie down, and a superb piece of work by Shahin enabled him to get in a great shot which was met by an equally fine save from Hales.
From then on the game drifted into an end of season mode, until the closing stages when Mitch Eustace brought a diving save out of Hales, who was then well behind Jake Outram’s last gasp blockbuster. But by then the only thing at stake was the clean sheet.
SPALDING: Cook, Ingram, Kennedy, Warner, Baker, Chappell (Eustace 86), Corrithers (Hayes 90+4), Thompson, Holding (Outram 82), Shahin, Nodder.
RAINWORTH: Hales, Baxter, Briggs, Charlesworth, Hannigan, Camm, Wright, Clarke (Fearon 15), Cooksey, Simpson (Gee-Pemberton 15), Hewitt (Wilkinson 87).
REFEREE: Martin Dexter of Leicester.
GOALS: Rainworth—Hewitt 4; Baxter 26, 52.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Rainworth and overall—Matt Baxter. Spalding—Jammal Shahin.