Wrens edged out in history repeat
HISTORY repeated itself at Church Lane on Saturday as, for the second time this season, Rainworth fell by the odd goal of five at New Mills.
The Millers’ previous 3-2 home win over the Wrens was back in September in the FA Cup, but a 2-0 win at Kirklington Road in August made Saturday a season’s triple success against them.
Rainworth certainly deserved to return home with at least a point, even though their overall performance never quite hit the heights of the previous Tuesday’s 5-1 away drubbing of Coalville.
But two contentious penalty decisions, one claimed by each side, both went the way of the Millers, while Wrens’ keeper Alessandro Barcherini will have been a little disappointed at the home side’s other two goals.
Twice Rainworth fell behind, twice they hauled themselves level. But when New Mills added a third the Wrens were unable to get it back again, despite manager Kevin Gee’s gamble of withdrawing defender Rob Paling to send on an extra striker.
So often the story from Kirklington Road has been one of an inability to score goals but few goals conceded.
So Gee was frustrated at the end that they had scored twice on the ground of another Play-off chasing club but conceded three.
After that massive midweek victory it was no surprise that the only change to the starting 11 was an enforced one, with Steve Kennedy sitting out the first of his five match ban meaning Romaine Graham switching from right wing back to central defence and Paling in to fill the gap left by Graham’s move.
Playing up a significant slope it was Rainworth who created the first opening when Nathan Adams misguided his back post header wide from Stephen Akers’ centre.
But first blood went to the Millers in the 10th minute. Graham had conceded a corner to end a threatening run by Antony Field, but from the corner Ben Deegan fell easily in the area after, at worst, minimal contact by Lee Cooksey. Referee Mr Kuzmanovic was sufficiently impressed, pointed to the spot, and Millers’ ace marksman Carlos Meakin gave Barcherini no chance.
Meakin had a chance to double the lead seven minutes later, but finished weakly from Leon Grandison’s lay-off, allowing Barcherini a routine save.
Home keeper James Coates was tested for the first time in the 20th minute, stretching to tip away Ryan Goward’s free kick from near the right corner flag following a foul on Adams by Dave Chadwick.
But, after Adams saw another effort blocked and Jermain Hollis was too high with the follow-up, Rainworth levelled in the 34th minute.
More excellent work by the busy Adams opened up a half chance which was blocked. The ball fell back to him and when he was forced wide he pulled back a low cross which Niall O’Rafferty sidefooted home.
O’Rafferty’s 41st-minute penalty claim was rejected when he went over in the area as he was closed down—as in the earlier incident if there was a touch it was minimal, but again the decision went the way of the home side.
And they celebrated by taking a 44th minute lead, again not without a touch of controversy.
Barcherini appeared to have Field’s cross from the right well covered, but the ball eluded him and finished in the net. The goal was credited to Meakin, but if he had indeed had the final touch then there was more than a suspicion of offside.
Rainworth began the second half again looking to restore parity in what had been an even contest, and two minutes in, after a neat build by Goward and Akers opened up a chance for Adams in the box, James Moss did just enough to deny him a telling finish.
Barcherini did well to prevent a corner after Goward had diverted another Meakin effort following a sweeping move orchestrated by Luke Horrocks.
And two minutes later, in the 54th, Rainworth were again back on terms with a quite brilliant solo effort by Goward, who won the ball on the half way line, advanced a few paces, and with no other options available as he was closed down, let fly from around 30 yards and watched with glee as it flew in under the angle.
Barcherini raced determinedly out of his goal to kick clear ahead of Field in the 58th minute, and it was an important race to win. But when play immediately switched to the other end Jermain Hollis profited from a miskick in defence to go clear, only to shoot wide with a gaping goal at his mercy.
Barcherini then saved well at the feet of Deegan, but the keeper was culpable when New Mills got what proved to be the winner in the 70th minute. He came for but flapped at a cross from the left, managing no more than a weak touch to the opposite side of the area, from where Grandison curled an excellent finish into the net before Barcherini could regain his position.
As the Wrens searched in vain for a third equaliser substitute Ant Lynam could not quite manage a telling touch onto Paling’s angled cross into the box, and Danny Bacon sliced over from a half-cleared corner.
With two subs already used, Gee’s last throw of the dice was to withdraw defender Paling in the 80th minute to send on forward Ben Spargo.
It left gaps at the back and the again impressive Lee Cooksey’s acrobatic clearance to end the danger of a probing Horrocks cross.
But it still almost worked for Gee, and an incisive passing movement with Adams at the heart ended with Michael Bowler in the way of Goward’s finish.
In added time even Barcherini went up for a Rainworth corner which was cleared, and the final agony for the Wrens was a brilliant point blank save by Coates to deny Hollis what would have been a deserved leveller.
NEW MILLS: Coates, Bowler, Moss, Swirad, Chadwick, Lonsdale, Meakin, Field (Needham 68), Deegan, Grandison (Edridge 86), Horrocks. Subs not used: Pickering, Douglas-Pringle, Benson.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini, Paling (Spargo 80), Goward, Camm, Graham, Cooksey, Hollis, Bacon, O’Rafferty (Lynam 63), Akers (Shaw 77), Adams. Subs not used: Glass, Hanson.
REFEREE: Dragan Kuzmanovic of Lichfield.
GOALS: New Mills - Meakin 10 (pen), 44; Grandison 70. Rainworth - O'Rafferty 34; Goward 54.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Nathan Adams.