Rainworth’s Run Continues, but not without a Hiccup.
Rainworth’s attempt to stretch their unbeaten run to eight matches against lowly Barton Town on Saturday was anything but plain sailing.
Barton who sat just above the relegation places had recruited well in the past few weeks under their new manager David Ricardo and their results were beginning to improve.
In the early exchanges there was nothing to choose between the sides, but it was Rainworth who raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of two excellent passages of play. When Barton were reduced to 10-men in the 29th minute, for a dangerous tackle, it looked like when not if Rainworth would add to that lead.
The sending off seemed to galvanise Barton and by the 81st minute they had drawn level as Rainworth paid the penalty for their complacency. However, a late period of Rainworth pressure saw them retake the lead to run out winners by the odd goal in five, deep into injury time.
In the opening minutes of the match it was Barton who started the quickest and in the 5th minute Will Waudby’s effort was just over.
Rainworth overcame their sluggish start and in the 7th minute an excellent passage of play saw Matt Sykes’s inch perfect through ball met by Niall Smith, who rounded the onrushing Sam Riches and put the ball in the net for the opening goal.
Three minutes later and they almost doubled their lead when Nathan Modest blocked Riches attempted clearance, but his goal-bound effort was cleared off the line. Rainworth got their second goal in the 16th minute when an excellent flick on by Modest found Liam Royles who delivered a cross that Tomas Poole converted via the underside of the bar.
Although two excellent goals separated the teams, Barton had had an equal share of the possession up to that point.
A fast break by Barton in the 28th minute saw Will Waudby’s cross struck goal wards by Callum Terrell, but Smith was on hand to block the effort and it was cleared.
A minute later saw the incident that was to change the nature of the game when Will Waudby was shown a red card for his tackle from behind on Royles. After a lengthy spell of treatment Royles attempted to continue but he had to be replaced by Alex Nightingale. The incident seemed to galvanise Barton whilst Rainworth struggled to regain any continuity to their game.
On the stroke of half-time, Barton pulled a goal back when the ball was laid back into the path of Sam Denton who gave Ben Townsend no chance, placing his effort into the top corner.
The start of the second-half saw Rainworth on the attack and Riches pulled off an excellent diving save at the expense of a corner from Sykes’s excellent goal-bound effort. At this point Rainworth had to make their second substitution bringing on Brad Wilson for the injured Joshua Ross.
The game continued to be evenly balanced, but it was Rainworth who carried the greater goal threat and on 58 minutes Rob Ludlam did well to evade a couple of challenges, but his effort lacked power and it was easily gathered by Riches. Minutes later Modest beat both defender and keeper, but in doing so he was forced wide and his shot was cleared off the line by the retreating defender.
The chances continued to come, and Poole was inches away from connecting with Smith’s cross with the goal at his mercy and Sykes put his effort over from long-range.
In the 73rd minute Modest was through on goal but he overran the ball and Riches was able to clear the danger. Rainworth then made their final substitution bringing on debutant Charlie Dawes for Poole.
Disaster struck for Rainworth in the 80th minute when they attempted a short corner when they lost the ball and Barton’s quick break ended with the referee awarding them a penalty. Tom Waudby gave Townsend no chance from the spot to draw the scores level and for the second match running Rainworth had lost a two-goal lead.
The goal seemed to bring Rainworth back to life and in the final minutes they peppered the Barton goal and they were only denied by some stoic defending. With time running out one such block landed at the feet of Danny Booth and he managed to squeeze it into the bottom corner to regain the lead.
This was to be the final act of a game were the final score was always in doubt. Rainworth whilst never at their best, proved they could grind out results, whilst on this showing it won’t be long before Barton start climbing up the table.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Ludlam; N. Smith; Booth; Ross (Wilson); Pemberton; Royles (Nightingale); Goodwin; Modest; Poole (Dawes); Sykes.
Subs (not used): Walker; Bennett
Referee: Mr James King