Not Allott to say
Everyone loves a local derby, but not if you’re fighting for survival in a relegation battle.
When the two teams last met Rainworth dominated, but AFC Mansfield somehow found a way to escape with a last-minute draw in a game were Rainworth should have won by a ‘country mile’.
Since that game Rainworth have managed only two wins both by large margins, one being their last games, so hopes were high that they may have turned the corner.
Today Rainworth were always second best in conditions and on a pitch that suited AFC Mansfield’s game. This however cannot be used as an excuse, teams who win league’s find a way, those who are relegated don’t.
AFC Mansfield won the toss and chose to play with the wind at their backs, Rainworth knew what to expect and Mansfield didn’t disappoint.
Mansfield were straight on the front foot and only a great save by Ben Townsend from Oliver Fearon prevented them opening the scoring.
A minute later and it took a combination of Jack Weatherall and Connor Griffin to defuse the situation as the ball bounced invitingly in the six-yard area.
On eleven minutes, they did go behind when former ‘Wren’ Joe Cheeseman rose unchallenged to head home the corner.
The situation worsened on 14 minutes when Jordan Claxton was poleaxed and the whistle only blew when Jack Weatherall committed a similar tackle . The difference was the first tackle went unpunished but Weatherall received a yellow card and whilst his ’victim’ was unhurt, Claxton had to be substituted by James Mansell.
It was all Mansfield at this stage and Townsend did well to save another former ’Wren’ Danny Naylor’s free-kick.
Rainworth’s first assault on the Mansfield goal didn’t come until the 27th minute when a fine interchange between Declan Brewin and Nick Langford saw Langford’s excellent cross attract ‘no-takers’.
A dominant Mansfield were in no mood to allow Rainworth back into the game and when the opportunity arose in the 34th minute Matty Plummer’s excellent late run saw his header hit the back of the net.
It could have been worse for Rainworth when Fearon went down in the penalty area, but the referee waved play on.
Jason White gathered Tomas Poole’s free-kick at the second attempt and with seconds remaining Mansfield had an opportunity of their own on 45 minutes.
Naylor’s free-kick beat the diving Townsend but struck the post and deflected across the six-yard box were Grant Allott made no mistake for the third. The referee blew immediately for half-time after the restart.
At half-time Rainworth were forced to substitute Jake Adlington for Griffin, who had sustained an injury shortly before half-time.
With the elements at their back Rainworth made a better start to the second half and should have scored on 50 minutes when Brewin headed wide when well-placed from Langford’s cross
Then in a two-minute spell Rainworth were lucky not to have conceded further goals when Townsend was caught at the edge of the penalty area. The chances both fell to Fearon the first a block that went just wide the second a glaring miss with the goal at his mercy.
It mattered not when on 63 minutes another fine Naylor free-kick struck the post and looped up in the six-yard area and Allott made it four with simplest of finishes.
Rainworth made their third and final substitution in the 78th minute when Lewis Parkin replaced Ryan Herbert.
Rainworth did eventually find a way through the excellent Mansfield defence when after a clinical attack the ball fell at Brewin’s feet and he made no mistake after rounding the keeper.
It was to prove little consolation on a day when Mansfield ran out deserved winners.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Ludlam; Claxton (Mansell); Goodwin; Griffin (Adlington); Weatherall; Brewin; Herbert (Parkin); Langford; Poole; Sykes. Sub (not used) : Munson
Referee: Tim Walker