Not Even Second Best
After Tuesdays 9-1 performance in the Notts Senior Cup the Rainworth fans were expecting to see their season kick-started against a Retford United side languishing in the bottom three.
In a game were Rainworth had more chances and more possession, the bottom line was Retford had more passion and desire in a game that could possibly have defined both club’s seasons.
If the players hadn’t realised it, Rainworth have been dragged into the relegation dog fight and on today’s performance they looked one of the favourites to fill one of the bottom three places.
It could have been so different but if you fail to convert clear-cut chances, concede a goal from your corner, allow a player to be first to a ball that was yours and then score for them, you can have no complaints. For their passion alone, Retford deserved this victory and Rainworth should learn from that if they are to have any chance to survive.
After 5 minutes Rainworth had their first warning when Jake Ashton was given a free header from a corner and Rainworth were grateful that it lacked power and was straight at Ben Townsend.
Rainworth went close on 11 minutes when Adam Valentine just reached the ball before Matt Harris and it was cleared at the expense of a corner. Rainworth had two efforts on goal from the corner, both blocked, and when the ball was cleared upfield to Cameron Dear he outran the defence and slotted it past Townsend for the opener.
On 15 minutes Rainworth were inches away from an equaliser when Tomas Poole’s cross just evaded Harris and Matt Sykes.
Rainworth’s equaliser came from a short corner between Sykes and Poole and when the ball reached Jack Barnett his deft clip found the top corner.
It was almost two but Valentine did well to reach Barnett’s free-kick on 27 minutes.
They should probably have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time when an excellent Rainworth move saw Harris through on goal but his effort was blocked.
Rainworth started the second half with purpose and Poole ran past defenders before hitting his effort over the bar.
On 61 minutes, they missed yet another golden opportunity when Curtis Gregory’s cross was mishit by Harris.
Rainworth brought on Liam Morris for Poole, a minute later they went behind when an innocuous free-kick was watched by the defence as it bounced around the area and Brad Kilner reacted the quickest.
Rainworth were unlucky on 66 minutes when Phil Buxton’s goal-bound shot was deflected into the arms of Valentine.
It was all Rainworth in this period when Buxton had an effort blocked and Morris struck his effort over when well-placed.
Retford almost increased their lead on 71 minutes when Townsend did well to block Oliver Perry’s effort and Dear’s follow-up landed on the roof of the net.
Rainworth brought on Declan Brewin for Curtis and a minute later Buxton and Morris combined to set-up Harris for the equaliser.
Then disaster struck in the 78th minute as Perry ran onto a through ball, Townsend came out only to see Rob Ludlam get his toe to it and put it past him for an own-goal.
Rainworth went straight down the other end and Sykes’s effort just flashed the wrong side of the upright with Valentine well beaten.
They have still didn’t learn from their mistakes and whilst Perry’s shot was easily gathered by Townsend, when his second chance was blocked minutes later Ashton was on hand to put in the rebound.
Rainworth now started to show some urgency and when Sykes’s goal-bound shot was deflected it fell into the path of Harris who made no mistake.
In the final minute, it seemed Rainworth must equalise but when Harris put in Morris, the Retford goal led a charmed life and as it was about to cross the line a boot deflected it for a corner.
Rainworth can have no complaints, today summed up their season to-date, unable to convert clear cut chances and eager to gift the opposition goals.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Herbert; Claxton; Buxton; Ludlam; Mansell; Gregory (Brewin); Barnett; Harris; Poole (Morris); Sykes. Syub (not used): Griffin
Referee: Mr Paul Buck