Last gasp penalty ends winless run and sends unlucky Quorn closer to trapdoor
A LAST kick 96th minute penalty ended Rainworth’s seven-match winless run in the league and left Quorn needing something of a miracle to escape the relegation trapdoor.
But the North Leicestershire side must have gone home wondering how they had lost a match which they had dominated for long periods.
It was the home fans who were praying for the referee to blow the final whistle before the Reds could get the goal they deserved.
An then, in the last of six added minutes Quorn keeper Matt Nurse brought Curtis Shaw down in the box, Shaw got up to put away the penalty, and as soon as the game restarted the referee blew the final whistle.
No-one at Rainworth would dispute the fact that the Wrens had got out of jail. But they know more than most that when you are down there the luck doesn’t go your way—and of course Quorn are even more ‘down there’ than Rainworth, who went 11 points clear of the bottom club as a result, leaving the visitors a mountain of Everest proportions to climb if they are to avoid the drop.
It was not a happy return for former Wrens favourite Tommy Hannigan, made captain for the night after his shock move last week, for he suffered what appeared to be concussion in an accidental clash of heads with Ben Spargo just five minutes into the second half, and was unable to continue.
But neither was it a happy starting debut for Rob Gill, leading the Wrens attack, who suffered what was believed to be another hamstring injury just before the break, when his legs appeared to buckle under him as he stooped to head a Matt Glass cross in the six yard box.
In the end, though, Quorn were unable to break down a resilient Rainworth defence which showed yet again why they have such a fine record for a club in their league position.
Up front, though, the industrious Spargo too often lacked support as he put himself about and sprayed some good passes around, to little avail until his involvement in the move which led to that last gasp penalty.
Rainworth began brightly enough, playing with some purpose and forcing the pace but lacking that cutting edge which has dogged their whole season, and when Quorn responded Sam Wood cut into the box from the right, forcing Ale Barcherini to block at the expense of a corner.
Quorn keeper Nurse snatched the ball off Spargo’s head from a Wrens flag kick in the 14th minute, and then held comfortably onto a speculative effort from Matt Glass.
But Lewis Carr missed a glorious chance for the visitors in the 20th minute when he profited from a quirky bounce of the ball in the area, his effort going behind off a defender for a corner.
Wood tried an overhead effort which was not far wide from a Quorn throw, and then veteran Rob Norris brought a sprawling save out of Barcherini with a bobbling daisy-cutter from around 25 yards.
In Rainworth’s next threat, in the 38th minute, Spargo was allowed to run on with the advantage rule after being fouled, only to see his accurate centre scooped over by the unlucky Glass.
But in the 43rd minute Gill’s evening ended when he collapsed while looking to put away a stooping header after good work by Glass on the right, the Wrens playing out the remainder of the half with 10 men before sending Andy Toyne out for the second half.
That was only five minutes old when Spargo and Hannigan clashed heads. Both needed treatment but it was Hannigan who came off worst and had to be helped off, clearly dazed.
Rainworth had a let-off in the 54th minute when Lewis Carr’s header from a corner hit the bar and bounced over.
And, 10 minutes later, a dipper from Norris had Barcherini tipping over at full upward stretch, before Louis Hamilton flashed a blistering effort just wide.
Rainworth were coming under the cosh severely at this stage, but the defence held tight, and when the Wrens did escape Spargo was just off target from 20 yards.
Spargo was at the heart of Rainworth’s best move of the match in the 78th minute, with a dream of a pass picking out Toyne, who could not quite manage enough control on the 18-yard line and poked a good chance narrowly wide.
Toyne popped up at the other end to head a way a Quorn free kick in a packed area, and, as Quorn scented a winner, Norris latched onto a half-clearance from a long throw-in, only to see his effort fly inches over the bar.
But it was not to be for the visitors, and when Spargo worked well to put Shaw into the area keeper Nurse lost his nerve momentarily and upended the former Tamworth midfielder, who got up to blast home the spot kick to the cheers of relief rather than joy of the home fans.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini, Fearon (Paling 63), Goward, Camm, Kennedy, Cooksey, C. Shaw, Bacon, Gill (Toyne ht), Spargo, Glass (Graham 63). Subs not used: O’Rafferty, Simpson.
QUORN: M. Nurse, Smedley, J. Shaw, Carr, Hannigan (Robinson 51), Gray, Hamilton, Wood (Smith 63), K. Nurse, Norris, Marshall (Edwards 67). Subs not used: Turner, Lutaaya.
REFEREE: Neil Guest of New Waltham, Lincs.
GOAL: Rainworth—Shaw 90+6 pen.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ben Spargo.