Clean Sheet is Key
Rainworth’s away fixture at Armthorpe Welfare although early in the season had become ‘a must win’ for both sides.
Armthorpe were pointless from their opening nine games whilst Rainworth had fared only slightly better with two wins, one at home to today’s opponents, in theirs.
Since that meeting at the beginning of the month Armthorpe had a new manager and a much changed line-up as did a Rainworth side showing six new players to their line-up.
As early as the second minute saw Armthorpe’s first effort on goal but Gary Collier’s shot was easily gathered by Ben Townsend.
A minute later and Rainworth’s Gary Booker’s long range effort struck Owen Heather and deflected for a goal-kick.
It was the start of a period of Rainworth pressure when in quick succession Declan Brewin and Aaron Moxam both tested the Armthorpe goal, but both were well saved by Liam Copley. It was then Rob Ludlam’s turn to head Tomas Poole’s cross straight into his arms.
Armthorpe always carried a threat and in the 15th minute Stuart Preston’s long range effort went the wrong side of the upright.
The Poole, Ludlam combination went even nearer when Ludlam’s glancing header went past the far upright with Copley beaten.
Rainworth were fortunate in the 33rd minute when a fierce shot struck the crossbar and was cleared before it could cross the line.
Rainworth debutant Mitchell Mullins produced a great run down the touchline and his cut-back saw Moxam’s effort strike the side netting.
In the final minute of the half both sides had great chances to take the lead, Moxam and Brewin combined well only for Brewin’s attempt to pass the ball into the net hit the side-netting instead.
At the other end only a brilliant Townsend save at full-stretch kept the scores level as the referee blew for half-time.
Rainworth continued to threaten the Armthorpe goal and in the 49th minute a delightful Moxam ball found another debutant, Julian Topliss, and his cross was driven just wide of the upright by Poole. Minutes later and Heather’s long range effort went over the bar.
Although Rainworth had created more of the chances it was Armthorpe who had come closest to scoring when their effort in the first half had struck the woodwork. On 62 minutes Craig Aspinall hit the woodwork again and with goal beckoning, from the rebound, the follow-up was hit into the side netting.
The game’s opening goal came in the 69th minute when an excellent ball found Moxam out wide on the right, after evading a couple of tackles he found Brewin who drove into the penalty area. His cross was met by Moxam at the near post, who showed why he is one of the league’s coveted strikers, putting his effort into the corner giving Copley no chance.
From the kick-off Armthorpe must have thought they had equalised only to see Steve Garner’s 35 yard effort brilliantly tipped over the bar by Townsend.
The 77th minute saw Mullin’s excellent debut brought to an end when an injury saw him replaced by Joe Cheeseman.
Rainworth were pushing hard for a second goal and only an excellent block by Copley from Topliss when Brewin had put him through on goal prevented them.
On 84 minutes a great cross by Carter Widdowson saw Moxam’s glancing header beat Copley but go the wrong side of the upright.
Armthorpe almost scored with minutes to go when James Walker’s training ground free-kick was only denied by an outstanding Townsend save at full-stretch.
Rainworth however weren’t to be denied and when Moxam put Brewin through on goal he was brought down by Copley and the referee immediately awarded a penalty.
Moxam made no mistake from the spot giving Copley no chance and seconds later the whistle went for full-time.
Both sides will take positives from the match that was only a bottom of the table clash in name, the football at times was of a much higher level. Rainworth looked a much more balanced side today and although there is still a lot of work to be done, the clean sheet was a major step forward with everyone contributing to the result.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Mullins (Cheeseman); Widdowson; Buxton; Booker; Ludlam; Brewin; Poole; Moxam; Topliss; Heather. Subs (not used): Clarke; Hutchinson.
Referee: Mr. Elliott Heward
Man of the match: Ryan Booker.