A Rainworth Revival?
With no wins in 14 league games, Rainworth’s trip to Harrogate Railway was a daunting prospect, especially after late withdrawals had left the squad threadbare once again.
The Station View pitch was very heavy, another factor that shouldn’t have suited Rainworth’s passing style, but that’s where the negatives ended.
Giving a display that belied their league form they comprehensively beat Harrogate Railway scoring four goals without reply and but for some stoic defending could have won by more.
Rainworth kicked against a slight slope and immediately took the game to Harrogate.
After only five minutes Matt Sykes hit his effort straight at Leon Wrigglesworth, that was quickly followed by Steve Mansell’s cross that was cleared at the second attempt as Matt Harris threatened.
A minute later and Sykes’s effort was inches over the bar with Wrigglesworth a mere spectator.
At this stage, it was all Rainworth and Harrogate were fortunate that from Sykes’s free-kick Rob Ludlam’s effort was blocked on the line.
Harrogate’s luck ran out in the 13th minute when Sykes ran at the Harrogate defence and although Wrigglesworth blocked the initial shot he could do nothing about the second which gave him no chance for the opener.
Rainworth probably should have increased their lead on 19 minutes when Declan Brewin’s excellent break and cross was miskicked by Phil Buxton and it looped into the grateful Wrigglesworth’s arms.
In a half Rainworth held the upper hand they came close in the 33rd minute when Sykes and Matt Harris’s efforts were blocked in quick succession.
A minute later and a Brewin thunderbolt flashed inches wide of the far upright with Wrigglesworth well-beaten.
Wrigglesworth was on hand in the 39th minute when he got fingertips to Brewin’s cross as Sykes was about to score his second.
As the half came to an end the worry was that Rainworth would come to rue the opportunities they had to put the game out of sight.
The second half was only a minute old when Chris Fisher did well to clear Sykes’s near post effort off the line.
In the 53rd minute Rainworth rode their luck as the ball was missed by at least two Harrogate players with the goal beckoning.
Two minutes later it seemed impossible that Rainworth hadn’t increased their lead when Wrigglesworth failed to hold Buxton’s shot and the follow-up was somehow cleared off the line.
On 55 minutes the elusive goal arrived when Brewin found Harris, he coolly rounded Wrigglesworth and slotted home the second.
Harrogate’s plight got even worse when Buxton was brought down from behind by Sam Denton for a penalty. Sykes stepped up and gave Wrigglesworth no chance from the spot.
Harrogate had the odd attempt on goal but David Brown’s 64th minute effort was easily gathered by Townsend. Rainworth continued to defy anything Harrogate threw at them as the much-maligned defence easily cleared any danger.
On 69 minutes Rainworth had to bring on Lewis Parkin to replace the injured Connor Griffin.
David Brown came close for Harrogate in the 75th minute when he put the ball over the bar when well-placed.
Rainworth continued to stretch the Harrogate defence and James Munson was unlucky when his goal bound effort was blocked, at the expense of a corner. From Sykes’s corner Harris put the game out of Harrogate’s reach with a fine headed goal.
Harrogate had the odd attack but it was Rainworth who carried the greatest threat and Sykes once again was inches wide as his effort flashed past the upright.
At the death Rainworth were denied a penalty when Brewin was brought down in the area, the award was somehow downgraded to a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Sykes’s free-kick was inches over the crossbar as the referee blew for full-time.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Mandell; Griffin (Parkin); Buxton; Ludlam; Weatherall; Brewin; Herbert; Munson; Harris; Sykes. Sub (not used): Watts.
Referee: Ian Johnstone
Man of the match: Jack Weatherall