The Ghost of Christmas Present
Rainworth MWFC served up their worst performance of the year on the day after Christmas Day.
The visiting fans were given a taste of Christmas present at Bottesford Town and like Scrooge in Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ it enlightened the fans as to what the end of the season may bring, with relegation a distinct possibility on this display.
The hope which the performances against Cleethorpes & Pickering Town had given was wiped away in a display that could best be headlined ‘Strangers on the field’. On a day when the 6-1 scoreline flattered Rainworth MWFC, with only Ben Townsend and poor Bottesford Town finishing keeping the scoreline below double figures.
Rainworth MWFC had the first attempt on goal but Declan Brewin’s 2nd minute attempt on goal was well blocked.
From that point on much of the play took place in the Rainworth half of the pitch and as early as the 4th minute Rainworth were grateful for Elliot Broughton’s poor finish when well placed.
It was quickly followed by attempts from Danny Boulton and Lee Ridley who both put their efforts inches the wrong side of the upright.
Both sides were finding it difficult on the uneven surface, but it took an excellent Townsend save, in the 19th minute, to deny Bottesford the opener from Martin Pemberton’s free-kick.
They went even closer a couple of minutes later when Boulton’s effort struck the outside of the upright with Townsend well-beaten. Two minutes later and Boulton put his effort inches the wrong side of the upright as it seemed only a matter of time before they scored.
That changed in the 33rd minute when completely against the run of play Julian Topliss ‘s cross found Curtis Gregory and his effort found the bottom corner for the opener.
That seemed to focus Bottesford minds and in the 37th minute when a catalogue of missed tackles saw Broughton run free, this time his well struck shot found the back of the net.
Rainworth should have regained the lead in the 39th minute when Gregory’s driven cross found Topliss but his effort struck a defender at the expense of a corner.
They were left to rue the miss a minute later when Townsend’s punched clearance fell at Broughton’s feet and although his shot looped up and over the keeper for the lead, it was no more than Bottesford deserved.
As the referee’s whistle went for half-time it was Rainworth who were the more grateful of the sides, only trailing 2-1 in a very dominant Bottesford display.
The second half continued with Bottesford on the front foot and they came close in the 49th minute when Paul Grimes free-kick just went over the crossbar.
Rainworth’s static defence were punished in the 51st minute when Wayne Greaves gratefully put the ball in the bottom corner. Five minutes later and he had scored his second, when Boulton’s shot was blocked by Townsend, he was on hand to put the rebound in the net.
In the 59th minute Rainworth brought on Matthew Harris for Brewin, but it was Bottesford who should have increased the lead when Boulton beat two players only to blast his shot over the cross-bar.
Rainworth made a double substitution in the 69th minute, bringing on Bradley Maturin-Drew and Ashley Cooper for Topliss and Ryan Herbert.
The changes did little to stem the flow of Bottesford attacks and on 76 minutes Boulton left defenders in his wake before rounding Townsend and blasting it into the net.
A minute later and only a brave dive by Townsend at the feet of Paul Grimes denied Bottesford their sixth. The rest bite was short-lived when in the final minute of injury time Townsend did well to block Pemberton’s shot only for Grimes to convert the rebound.
As the referee blew for full-time Bottesford Town had been good value for their 6-1 victory. With the return fixture in seven days the Rainworth faithful will be hoping for a much-improved performance.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Adlington; Claxton; Herbert (Cooper); Buxton; Ludlam; Gregory; Bamforth; Brewin (Harris); Topliss (Maturin-Drew); Sykes.
Referee: Lee Freeman