Top Three for a Reason
Pickering Town were the visitors to Kirklington Road, looking for three points to put pressure on AFC Mansfield and Pontefract Collieries in the race for the title and promotion.
Rainworth took the lead and had a chance to double it, before a minute after that chance Pickering equalised with a goal of pure quality.
In the final twenty minutes of the game Pickering added three more goals, giving Rainworth an insight into what it takes to be a top three team.
The game was barely three minutes old when Billy Logan ghosted through Rainworth’s defence, but his header was just the wrong side of the upright.
Rainworth went close in the fifth minute but Matt Sykes’s long-range effort was just wide of the goal. Two minutes later and they took the lead when Tomas Poole’s effort from 30 yards appeared to take Charlie Andrews in the Pickering goal by surprise and he could only help it into the net for the opening goal.
Rainworth continued to press and in the 12th minute Kyle Jordan’s and Poole’s goal-bound efforts were blocked before Steve Wankiewicz’s effort was straight at the keeper, however he had been flagged offside.
They should have doubled their lead in the 13th minute when Jordan’s excellent free-kick only needed a touch with the goal beckoning. A minute later and they were made to rue that miss when Pickering equalised. The goal was fit to grace any level any standard of football, the cross was met by Logan who rose above everyone and his powerful header gave Andy Francis no chance.
Pickering had a wonderful opportunity to take the lead in the 19th minute but Brad Freer mis-timed his volley and it went the wrong side of the upright. Rainworth were given another fright in the 22nd minute when the league’s leading marksman Ryan Blott pounced on a loose-ball in the penalty area, but he put his effort well over.
Rainworth appeared to have a ‘good case’ for a penalty in the 28th minute when Jordan appeared to be pushed from behind when through on goal, but the referee awarded a corner-kick.
The final chance of the half fell to Rainworth when a good piece of inter-play between Sykes and Jordan saw the ball laid into Ross Goodwin’s path, but his snatched effort went just wide.
It had been an entertaining half of football with both sides scoring and missing chances.
Pickering came out for the second half on the front foot and were soon testing the Rainworth defence. Eddie Birch put his effort wide before Francis made a great save as Logan ran through on goal.
Logan and Blott then combined but Blott’s effort was inches over the crossbar. At the other end Rainworth almost benefited when Poole’s driven cross was intercepted by Matty Turnbull’s outstretched leg and Andrews at full-stretch did well to prevent it crossing the line.
Rainworth made their first substitution bringing on Charlie Dawes for Nathan Modest.
Pickering took the game by the scruff of the neck when in the 69th minute the danger in the area appeared to have been dealt with, but Blott managed to get his boot to it, putting it past a stranded Francis.
The game was all but over in the 74th minute when Francis did well to block Logan’s effort, but Joe Danby was the first to react to the rebound and he made no mistake, putting it into the bottom corner.
Rainworth should probably have pulled one back in the 80th minute but when Jordan was through on goal he chose to pass to Dawes, the pass was just behind him and as he tried to recover the situation, the Pickering defence scrambled the ball clear.
Rainworth made a double substitution bringing on Gareth Curtis and Luke Walker for Poole and Jordan.
A minute later and it was four when Blott’s inch-perfect cross was volleyed home by Logan.
Rainworth still came forward and when Curtis laid the ball into Sykes’s path his goal-bound effort was deflected for a corner. In the final minute Syke’s free-kick went just over as the referee blew for full-time.
Rainworth had battled for the full 90 minutes but the difference was Pickering’s clinical finishing and their composure even when behind.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Francis; Wilson; Pemberton; Goodwin; Adams; Wankiewicz; Poole (Curtis); Booth; Modest (Dawes); Jordan (Walker); Sykes.
Subs (not used); Bennett; Townsend.
Referee: Mr Ryan Hayes