No Winners, Nor Lack of Effort!!
Rainworth MWFC came of age today.
The game at Forest Town Welfare today between AFC Mansfield and Rainworth MWFC saw two teams with contrasting styles produce a pulsating game of football. AFC like to get the ball forward quickly into their opponent’s penalty area and are noted for their full commitment for the whole ninety minutes, whilst Rainworth defend in depth and hit teams on the break.
Fourth placed AFC Mansfield, who boast the meanest defence in the league, went into the match on an unbeaten four match run, which also saw the return of the leagues joint leading scorer Ollie Fearon, after a four-match suspension.
Seventh placed Rainworth MWFC, had made a slow start to the season, understandable for a team in transition, but now they were on a six-match unbeaten run, with the last five being victories.
The game got off to a fast start and Rainworth were given an early wake-up call when in the second minute Craig Mitchell pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area, but his effort hit the outside of the upright.
A minute later and Rainworth exposed the league’s meanest defence as Matt Sykes’s through ball found Nathan Modest and Jason White did well to block his effort.
Whilst the contrasting styles meant that a lot of the play took place in the Rainworth half, they were causing AFC problems on the break.
There were half-chances at both ends as Phil Buxton’s free-kick only needed a touch and Sykes hit his effort over the bar from distance.
An excellent passage of play in the 27th minute saw Danny Booth’s effort fly well over from the edge of the area. Minutes later it was AFC’s turn as Connor Smythe’s bicycle-kick flashed inches past the outside of the post.
Rainworth weren’t to be denied and in the 30th minute after yet another quick break the ball found Modest in space, this time he gave White no chance finding the bottom corner for the opener.
AFC began to up the tempo and Ben Townsend did well to save Fearon’s effort at the expense of a corner, he had no such trouble however minutes later easily saving Buxton’s free-kick.
In the 39th minute it was Rainworth who almost created another goal, but Modest overran the ball and White was able to clear. This was to be the last opportunity for either side and it was Rainworth who went into the break with a slender one goal lead.
The game continued to provide opportunities at both ends Lynton Karkach’s free-kick was deflected just wide and White blocked Sykes’s goal-bound effort on the line and it is cleared.
Rainworth thought they had doubled their lead when Tomas Poole found Modest who beat the defender standing on the line, but the eagle-eyed linesman had spotted that White had run past Modest before he received the ball, hence there was only one man between him and the goal.
AFC’s good fortune was short lived when in the 58th minute Sykes drove into the area, the ball eventually fell at Ross Goodwin’s feet and as he rounded the defender he was caught from behind and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Sykes made no mistake from the spot to double the lead.
Minutes later and Rob Ludlam’s last ditch clearance prevented AFC reducing the deficit.
In the 66th minute it was AFC’s turn to be awarded a penalty when the referee deemed it had struck a hand in the area and Fearon beat Townsend’s valiant dive, putting the ball into the bottom corner.
Rainworth made their first substitution on 73 minutes with Brad Wilson replacing Poole.
The goal breathed new life into AFC as they began to press for the equaliser and Buxton came close when his effort went just over. Rainworth however still carried a threat and when Goodwin played Sykes through, he dragged his shot wide when well placed, whilst at the other end Townsend did well to block another goal-bound effort.
Rainworth squandered yet another opportunity to put the game out of reach in the 79th minute when after a fine break, Jack Waddle snatched at the ball and it went out for a goal-kick. Two minutes later and Rainworth made their second substitution bringing on Luke Walker for Modest.
With minutes left Rainworth looked to have weathered the storm with an excellent rear guard effort, but when Cameron Dear was given room in the 88th minute to get his cross into the box, Nick Guest was on hand to squeeze it in for the equaliser.
In injury time AFC came agonisingly close to winning it when a shot through a host of bodies flashed just the wrong side of the upright.
Rainworth had a penalty appeal deep into injury time when Matt Wilson appeared to catch Sykes when he drove on goal. The referee saw it differently and awarded a corner, from which Max Pemberton’s effort was just over.
At the final whistle there was nothing to choose between the sides, in a very entertaining and competitive match which both sides thought they should have won.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Ludlam; N. Smith; Booth; Ross; Pemberton; Goodwin Waddle; Modest (Walker); Poole (Wilson); Sykes
Subs (not used): Claxton; Nightingale; Royles