Ragged Rainworth in 'Farley flop'
ALL the good work of Rainworth’s superb win at Sutton Coldfield was undone on Tuesday night as the Wrens performed a ‘Farley flop’.
Quorn’s impressive Farley Way arena is fast becoming a bogey ground for Rainworth who, for the second season in a row, scored first and then blew it.
It had been bad enough last time around, but this time it was worse, for they built up a 2-0 lead inside the first nine minutes against the bottom club in the division, after which they were utterly outplayed.
A win would have lifted the Wrens three places up the league table and put a bit of distance between themselves and the relegation zone. But instead they got what they deserved for a largely gutless, heartless and shambolic show.
And the travelling supporters, as well as the management, could only look on in disbelief that the same starting 11 who did so well at Sutton Coldfield could go so far to the opposite extreme—indeed had there been any justice Quorn would have won by a bigger margin.
It is one of the oldest adages in the fictitious ‘Motson’s Book of Football Clichés’ that 2-0 up is a dangerous score, the theory being that you are in danger of easing off and conceding a goal which gives the opposition the impetus to go on and win it. And once a team loses its own impetus in such circumstances it is very difficult to regain it.
While there is never a wrong time to score, if you establish that lead early on, you have to go on with your killer instinct to finish off your opponents before they can get a foothold back into the contest—not think ‘job done’ and go through the motions for the remainder of the 90 minutes, which not everyone, but too many, did.
Pre-match expectations were high following the win at Sutton Coldfield. True, Quorn had beaten the then leaders Ilkeston on the same day, but they had lost their following two matches, while the Wrens’ success had been the culmination of a gradual improvement through a number of games.
Those expectations were further fuelled in only the third minute when Sean Cann received a ball over the top and, despite seeing his initial effort blocked by home keeper Matt Nurse, followed in to give the Wrens an early lead.
Then, when Quorn’s Shawn Richards, digging out in defence, foolishly controlled the ball with his arm in the area, Ant Lynam blasted the spot kick hard and low to give Rainworth their first two-goal lead since the opening day of the season.
From there on it was a slippery slope on a slippery surface made difficult by a pre-match torrential downpour, and even worse by another during the second half.
Rainworth players in particular seemed to struggle to stay on their feet at times.
Possession was conceded alarmingly often, the midfield appeared almost non-existent, the defence was below par despite Cameron Fearon and, particularly Joe Carter bucking the general trend of malady, and the front line was starved of service as Rainworth sat increasingly deep. And Quorn, with player-manager Lawrie Dudfield pulling the strings, sensed a way back.
They almost found one just two minutes after Lynam’s spot kick, when Ashley Robinson’s spearing low cross shot from the right looked destined for the far corner until the spread-eagled Joe McCormack deflected it for a corner which Mark Camm headed clear.
Carter endeavoured to keep his team mates firing on all cylinders with a fine piece of work to set up Danny Bacon, whose 18-yard finish was weak and straight at Nurse.
Midway through the first half Fearon lost out to the veteran Dudfield for pace along the Quorn left, but managed to recover and do just enough to put the home player-manager off his shot, allowing McCormack to gather.
Rob Paling, who never quite lived up to his man of the match performance of the previous game, raised Rainworth hopes with a bursting break through the middle but shot hastily wide from 25 yards.
But it was a brief respite and McCormack did well to put Dudfield off his shot again after the strangely out-of-sorts Tommy Hannigan had called for and failed to claim the ball.
Joe Shaw’s overlaps were a source of concern, and in the 27th minute his tricky lobbed cross-shot brought the best out of McCormack who clawed and held onto a very difficult ball under his bar.
A rare Rainworth attack saw Cann’s blockbuster from the left of the box well saved at the near post, but it was Carter to the rescue just before half time when he charged in to take the ball off Dudfield’s toe as he was set to pull the trigger.
A half time dressing room roasting seemed to have done the trick early in the second half, as Rainworth showed a bit more spirit, and Cann displayed fine control to set up Lynam whose blistering drive Nurse blocked with his legs.
But it was not long before the first half pattern re-established itself, and Quorn finally drew their reward in the 58th minute, with Dudfield left unmarked to put away Robinson’s cross at close range.
The home side posed a threat from a couple of set pieces, but when Hannigan was deemed to have fouled Dudfield in the area Kris Nurse slotted a 69th minute penalty.
Rainworth sent on Chris Timons for the injured Hannigan and replaced Cann with new boy Nathan Adams in the 74th minute, while at the same time Sam Wood replaced Richards for Quorn.
The Wrens almost regained the lead in the 85th minute when Camm rolled a free kick to Lynam, whose fast shot on the turn from the 18-yard line flashed a whisker wide.
But Quorn were not to be denied the win they deserved, and when Chris Gray floated in a 90th minute free kick from the right, Dan Marshall was first to the ball at the far post to bundle it over the line.
QUORN: M. Nurse, Shaw, Marshall, Marriott, Burton, Gray, Robinson, Milson, K. Nurse, Dudfield, Richards (Wood 74). Subs not used: R. Nurse, Thomas, Chiavetta.
RAINWORTH: McCormack, Paling, Carter, Hannigan (Timons 74), Fearon, Camm, Hanson, Cooksey (Barker 85), Cann (Adams 74), Lynam, Bacon. Subs not used: Briggs, Wright.
REFEREE: Eddie Smart of Oldbury, West Midlands.
GOALS: Quorn—Dudfield 58; K. Nurse 69 pen; Marshall 90. Rainworth—Cann 3; Lynam 9 pen.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Quorn—Lawrie Dudfield; Rainworth—Joe Carter.