Against the Odds
The league records of Staveley MW and Rainworth MWFC in 2017 couldn’t be more contrasting with Staveley having only lost one and Rainworth only having won one of their fixtures during that period.
It meant that Staveley were in the top half of the table, whilst Rainworth were now in a relegation battle.
On the day, however Rainworth’s battling performance gave them a much-deserved victory and the three points in their continued fight for survival.
The pattern for the game was decided in the opening minutes and when in the 3rd minute a defensive error saw Rainworth’s Matt Sykes steal the ball. His pass found Matt Harris, he squared the ball for Nick Langford who made no mistake for the opener.
Bothe sides were struggling to put together a meaningful passage of play, with neither side being allowed any time to settle.
Rainworth almost doubled the score in the 10th minute when Ryan Herbert picked up the ball in midfield and left a couple of defenders in his wake before hitting a shot that just went the wrong side of the upright.
Staveley however had other ideas and in the 12th minute they should have equalised when Curtis Morley drove into the penalty area and set up Adam Lee, but his shot was well over when well placed.
At the other end, Declan Brewin’s long range effort was just over the bar and a couple of minutes later Tomas Poole’s free-kick was even closer with Lewis Naylor well beaten.
A minute later Staveley were grateful as Langford’s goal bound shot took a deflection and Naylor easily gathered.
In the 34th minute Staveley had a slice of luck when everyone in the ground, that is except the referee, thought Lee would be shown red for his violent use of his head, only for the referee to produce a yellow. A couple of minutes later he was involved again prompting the home team to immediately substitute him.
With minutes left of the half Staveley came close to the equaliser with both Tyla Bell and Joshua Madin hitting shots just wide.
The referee brought the half to an end shortly afterwards, but the talking point was Lee’s non-red card.
The second half started at a frantic pace with both sides pushing for a goal.
Rainworth came close in the 54th minute when in defending Poole’s free-kick Madin's misdirected headed clearance landed on top of the net with Naylor a spectator.
The rest bite was short lived when from the resultant corner, Sykes’s cross was headed home at the far post by Matt Harris to put Rainworth two goals up.
In the 58th minute Staveley’s task got much harder when Thomas Ellis was dismissed for his second bookable offence.
Rainworth almost increased their lead in the 68th minute when Brewin found Sykes but his sliced effort was well wide.
Naylor did well in the 68th minute to somehow keep Brewin’s goal bound shot out at the expense of a corner.
Staveley were pushing forward whenever possible but Madin’s effort was just wide.
Rainworth almost got a second headed goal from a corner but Jake Adlington’s effort was wide of the upright. It was a period when play was end to end with chances at both ends.
In the 77th minute Rainworth brought on Lewis Parkin for Brewin and shortly afterwards Staveley had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for offside.
Rainworth brought on James Munson for Langford as they played out time and shortly afterwards the whistle went for full time.
Today had been a complete team effort and nobody who had seen it, could have been in any doubt, that Rainworth are more than ready for the relegation battles ahead.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Adlington; Claxton; Herbert; Griffin; Ludlam; Brewin (Parkin); Poole; Langford (Munson); Harris; Sykes Sub (not used): Watts
Man of match: Whole Team