Wrens stunned by Yellows' 14-minute burst
A 14-MINUTE second half purple patch ended Hucknall’s four match losing sequence, brought Rainworth’s recent recovery crashing around them, and completed a trio of wins over the Wrens this season.
Don’t be fooled by the league table. On recent form this was one of the shock results of the day—and the amazing thing was that this was the same Wrens side that had ended 2011 with a magnificent display to hold league leaders Carlton to a goalless draw.
Hucknall’s two previous victories over Rainworth were both close calls, and in both cases the Wrens were left to rue missed chances.
But this hitherto much improved side were expected to see off the recently out-of-sorts Yellows, instead of which visiting manager Des Lyttle was treated to his first win since November, and by a margin which was Rainworth’s heaviest defeat of the season.
There had appeared little to choose between the two old rival clubs until Grant Ryan broke the deadlock in the 59th minute, and followed that up with a seocn four minutes later.
Then another two in three minutes burst on 70 and 73 through Anthony Gregory and sub Corey Gregory completed the rout and left the shattered home fans looking again at their expectations for the coming four months.
Manager Kevin Gee has always insisted since his arrival that he has a big job on his hands to remain in the division, but such has been the success he has brought to the club in recent weeks that tentative whispers of ‘top half’ have been heard among some of the Kirklington Road faithful.
What matters now, of course, is not so much the defeat—that has gone and cannot be changed—but more so the Wrens’ response in the coming weeks, when a home game against leaders Grantham is sandwiched between trips to two of the other clubs involved in the relegation battle, Kidsgrove on Saturday and Shepshed a fortnight later.
If the response is similar to that which followed the 4-1 home defeat by Ilkeston in Gee’s first match in charge, then the damage done by this result will be minimal, but the Ilkeston game apart, Rainworth have tended to fare better against the top clubs than the strugglers.
Hucknall were themselves among those top clubs until their December slump plummeted them to the foot of the recent form table, but they were quickly onto the attack to win a corner inside the first minute, from which Ally Barcherini, making his home debut, punched clear.
The home fans’ expectations were raised in the third minute but Ant Lynam’s shot on the turn from Nathan Adams’ low cross was straight at Town keeper Ben White.
Barcherini confidently cut out Anthony Gregory’s cross and then dealt competently with another Hucknall corner in the 16th minute.
The keeper’s fellow home debutant, Romaine Graham, conceded a free kick to his previous club for hands on the edge of the box, but thankfully Lee Cooksey was on hand to clear Gregory’s kick.
As Rainworth it back Matt Glass’ cross-shot just cleared White’s bar, then after good work by Stephen Akers won the first of two successive corners, from the second one Graham’s header was cleared off the line and eventually scrambled clear.
Graham shot straight at Barcherini from the edge of the box on the half-hour, while at the other end Danny Bacon’s rising shot from just outside the box cleared the bar following a throw in.
Adams was next to raise home hopes with a good run and cross which was cleared, before the half ended with the hard-working Ricky Hanson finding no luck with an effort from distance.
The visitors engineered a good chance four minutes into the restart, but Ryan’s weak effort was straight at Barcherini.
Three minutes later Town broke from a Rainworth corner to win a free kick which Cooksey headed clear.
Glass, who had won that corner, then embarked on a quick break down the right, only for Lynam to turn the low cross the wrong side of the near post.
Another breakaway by Adams saw his angled shot blocked by White for a corner. That was cleared upfield and Gregory headed on to send Ryan running clear and slip the ball past the advancing Barcherini into the net for a 59th minute opener.
Four minutes later Ryan struck again, this time with a great shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.
Stung Rainworth looked for a way back in the 69th minute through Adams who headed over the bar from a corner, and a minute later the points were out of Rainworth’s reach when a short free kick was slipped to Anthony Gregory whose left foot shot again found the top corner.
And Rainworth’s misery was complete three more minutes on when Corey Gregory turned his marker to volley into the roof of the net.
It could have been worse in the 90th minute but Barcherini saved and cleared a direct free kick.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini, Hanson, Carter, Camm, Graham, Cooksey, Akers, Bacon (Clarke 70), Adams, Lynam (Spargo 58), Glass (Mitchell 79). Sub not used: O’Rafferty.
HUCKNALL: White, Walker, Price, Stainfield, Armstrong, Lloyd, Williamson (Corey Gregory 54), A. Gregory, Ryan, Massingham (Curtis Gregory 59), Brady. Subs not used: Sims, Chrisp, Lindley.
REFEREE: Mark Hutchinson of Bingham.
GOALS: Hucknall—Ryan 59, 63; A. Gregory 70; Corey Gregory 73.
MEN OF THE MATCH: Rainworth—Ricky Hanson. Hucknall—Grant Ryan.