Sometimes the performance is secondary!!
Rainworth gave probably their most disjointed performance of the season so far; but came away with three points. Which was the more important; after so much heartache with no reward from good performances; the fans will probably say the points!!
It was a nervous start from both sides; understandable with their league positions. The early exchanges from both came to nothing; until in the 7th minute Rainworth should have taken the lead; but once again poor finishing let them down. Karl Slack evaded his marker and his shot was only parried; but with the goal gaping Ewan Clarke screwed his shot wide. They were nearly made to rue the miss when in quick succession Liam Shotton was thwarted by Lee Cooksey’s block and a fine save from Joe McCormack. Ewan Clarke was to make amends for his miss when in the 11th minute he just reached Ricky Hanson’s cross to head past the advancing keeper.
The intensity of the match started to increase as Kidsgrove searched for the equaliser; and Rainworth for the all important second goal. In the 21st minute it looked like Kidsgrove would level when Liam Shotton had a good penalty appeal turned down. Rainworth came back at Kidsgrove and went close with attempts from Blair Anderson; Ewan Clarke and Ryan Goward. At the other end Kidsgrove’s Daniel Skelton flashed two shots just wide of the Rainworth goal.
The game was starting to get physical and in the 33rd minute Daniel Skelton was booked for a late tackle on Jared Holmes. A minute later Jared Holmes hit a great volley which just cleared the crossbar. The game still ebbed and flowed and a poor touch by Kidsgrove’s Andrew Kinsey allowed Joe McCormack to gather the ball. The half ended with Rainworth leading 1-0; and on the balance of play it was just about deserved.
The second half gave an insight into why Rainworth have lost matches when leading; indecision in defence on more than one occasion nearly gifted Kidsgrove the equaliser. It therefore came as no surprise that in the 52nd minute Andrew Kinsey deservedly equalised for Kidsgrove. Then in quick succession Shane Reaney and Liam Shotton so nearly made Rainworth pay for squandering their first half chances. Danny Bacon came on for Ewan Clarke and Rainworth began to gain the upper hand. In a five minute period Danny Bacon’s shot was deflected for a corner and an absolute rocket from Mark Camm just cleared the crossbar. They were rewarded in the 66th minute when Ryan Goward’s cross was put past the keeper at the third attempt by Karl Slack for his first goal since signing from Hucknall Town.
Rainworth gave Jordan Turner his debut when Blair Anderson was substituted; but it was Kidsgrove who came closest to scoring. Rainworth made their final substitution when Karl Slack made way for Barry Payne; but it was Kidsgrove’s Liam Shotton who once again nearly scored with his two efforts; the first was blocked and the second well saved by Joe McCormack. The match was finally decided by a bizarre couple of minutes when firstly debutant Jordon Turner’s shot was handled by Jake Vernon for a penalty. Jared Holmes well struck penalty sent the goalkeeper the wrong way only for it to rebound off the post. The rebound eventually found its way to Barry Payne who was brought down for yet another penalty. This time debutant Jordan Turner took the spot kick and coolly stroked it into the opposite side to which the goalkeeper had dived.
The game then started to degenerate with a number of Kidsgrove players finding their way into the referee’s notebook in quick succession for cynical fouls. In the final minute Kidsgrove nearly pulled a goal back when Andrew Kinsey’s goal bound shot was cleared off the line by Barry Payne. The game ended with Rainworth victorious 3-1.
Neither sets of fans were happy with the referee, Kidsgrove felt that they had three valid penalty appeals dismissed; whilst Rainworth thought they should have had at least one more and couldn’t understand how Kidsgrove finished the match with eleven players. Trying to remain impartial I had to agree that both sets of fans had valid cases; on what was a less than convincing refereeing display.
RAINWORTH: McCormack; Hanson; Goward; Camm (Cpt); Walker: Cooksey; Lloyd; J. Holmes; Slack (Payne 80); Clarke (Bacon 58); Anderson (Turner 73). Subs (Not used): Burton; Claxton.
KIDSGROVE: Dyson; Winkle: Dove (Cpt); Hill; P.Taylor; A.Taylor (Vernon 45); Reaney; Skelton (Curley 82); Shotton; Kinsey; Sherratt (Griggs 75). Subs (Not used): Jonston; Shenton.
Referee: Mark Smith (Belper)
Man of Match: Karl Slack