Cinderella is coming to the ball!!
A 200-mile round trip to Bridlington Town in mid-week is always a daunting task, but after their excellent performance in the televised FA Cup tie against last season’s FA Vase Winners South Shields, the magnitude of the task at hand was never more apparent.
Rainworth’s opening to this season’s league campaign had been less than auspicious and had realised only one point in their opening two matches. There had been no hysteria within the club, just frustration, in both matches there had been glimpses of the team’s potential.
With matches coming thick and fast at this time of year, a sequence of games, home against Bottesford Town and away at Maltby Main and Bridlington Town had many sceptics already predicting another Relegation battle for Rainworth.
After three hard fought victories, the belief that is within the club may now be emanating outwards to the doubters, especially as Rainworth are for now at least, top of the league, albeit having played more games.
Last night at the Hudgell Solicitors Stadium, Bridlington started on the front foot and only resolute defending prevented them opening their account.
Rainworth took the lead from their first serious attack when in the 10th minute Bryan Dakouri ran at the defence and although his cross beat everyone, Liam Royles gathered on the right. His cross found Nathan Modest who took it on his chest, turned and hit an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net.
They almost doubled their lead on 15 minutes when Jordan Claxton’s low free-kick deflected off a Bridlington heel and out for a corner.
Both sides carried a goal threat going forward and Rainworth were grateful to Max Pemberton whose last gasp tackle prevented a goal-scoring effort.
Rainworth still carried a serious threat and Modest’s shot on the turn just went over the crossbar with the keeper beaten. They doubled their lead in the 31st minute when the keeper could only push out Claxton’s cross and Tomas Poole drilled the ball home from the edge of the area.
It was now end-to-end and Dakouri’s long range effort just went the wrong side of the post whilst at the other end Ben Townsend saved at full stretch.
In the final minutes of the half saw Rainworth almost add to their lead as firstly Dakouri’s effort was gathered by the keeper with Modest lurking for any slip-up. Then Modest outpaced the full-back and his cross was just headed over by Dakouri.
The second half started with both sides testing each other, but it was Bridlington who were starting to dominate.
Rainworth eventually succumbed to Bridlington’s pressure when an excellent cross found the head of Brett Agnew and he made no mistake in reducing the arrears.
It was all Bridlington now as they chased the equaliser and Townsend did well to save at full stretch.
Rainworth made their first substitution in the 74th minute Sam Bebbington replacing Danny Booth.
It was still constant Bridlington pressure, but Rainworth were in no mood to give them anything and Townsend was once again called on saving an excellent free-kick at the near post.
In the 79th minute Agnew looked odds-on to score the equaliser, but an incredible block by Pemberton meant it was only a corner.
Rainworth should have put the game out of sight in the 82nd minute when Poole brilliantly brought the ball under control but put his effort into the side netting when well placed.
Bridlington’s pressure was relentless and Rainworth brought on debutant Niall Smith for Jordan Claxton in the 85th minute and Tim Whittaker for Dakouri in the 87th minute.
The final minutes seemed like hours but Rainworth held out for an excellent victory against a very strong Bridlington Town side.
The next game is yet another tough fixture at home to third placed Pontefract Collieries on Saturday.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Royles; Claxton (Smith); Wilson; Pemberton; Lawrence; Poole; Waddle; Modest; Dakouri (Whittaker); Booth (Bebbington).
Sub (not used): Barnes
Men of the match: The whole team