Sometimes it’s just the three points that matter
Up until today Rainworth had gone four matches in the league and cup without conceding a goal, scoring nine goals in the process.
Today they gave a disjointed performance, conceding in the 35th minute, their first in 467 minutes play, before two second-half strikes won them a hard-earned victory.
The saying is ‘that good teams win when not playing at their best’ and Rainworth certainly lived up to that today against a very good Athersley Recreation side.
After a lethargic opening it was Rainworth who created the first goal scoring opportunity when in the 6th minute Max Pemberton’s corner bisected the six-yard box with nobody able to add the finishing touch.
At the other end Kia Hancock’s effort on goal was palmed to safety by Andy Francis, he then put an effort well over when well placed.
It was Hancock again in the 26th minute when his driven shot cum cross from the left flew across the six-yard box, going out for a goal kick having gone inches past the far upright.
The opening goal came in the 35th minute when a Rainworth attack broke down and Athersley hit them on the counter-attack. The ball found Hancock on the right and when he cut in his fierce shot was helped into the net off Francis’s outstretched leg.
This seemed to bring Rainworth to life and after Tomas Poole and Andy Wilson’s neat interchange, Ross Goodwin put Wilson’s cross well over.
At half-time Rainworth could have no complaints in a half that Athersley had been the better side.
The second-half saw Rainworth on the front foot and after a couple of attempts had gone wide they equalised. After a mix-up in the Athersley defence on 54 minutes the ball was only cleared into the path of Poole at the edge of the area and his shot beat everyone nestling in the bottom corner.
Rainworth made their first substitution in the 58th minute bringing on Danny Booth for Goodwin.
The Rainworth goal led a charmed life in the 61st minute when Lee Garside put a tap-in wide of the upright with Francis just an onlooker.
A minute later and Rainworth made them pay when Matt Sykes beat three defenders down the left and his cross was brilliantly volleyed in by Kyle Jordan to take the lead.
Athersley went in search of the equaliser but Jack Briscoe’s effort was well wide. Rainworth made their second substitution bringing on Charlie Dawes for Luke Walker.
Rainworth almost increased their lead in the 73rd minute when Daniel Vinten tipped Jordan’s goal-bound free-kick over the bar.
Athersley almost equalised in the 80th minute when the ball found its way into the area, but no-one was on hand for the finishing touch.
With Rainworth running down the clock the referee added time on, but they were able to hang on and claim all three points.
With third placed Pickering Town the visitors on Tuesday evening, Rainworth will know they will have to be at their best to get anything out of the game.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Francis; Wilson; Ludlam; Goodwin (Booth); Adams; Wankiewicz; Sykes; Pemberton; Walker (Dawes); Jordan; Poole.
Subs (not used): Bennett; Modest; Townsend
Referee: Mr Gareth Davies