All square in battle of birds as Wrens hold higher-flying Linnets
RAINWORTH gained a more than useful point with a deserved 2-2 draw against second-placed Kings Lynn on Tuesday night.
All four goals came in a 16-minute spell during the third quarter of an even contest in which both sides wasted good chances.
And although the Linnets, with a playing budget understood to be more than double that of the Wrens, edged possession, Rainworth’s heart for the battle—manifestly absent against Lincoln United seven days earlier—was worthy of some reward.
The only down side was the Wrens’ first red card of the season, former Linnet Callum Lloyd beating his team mates to the dressing room by just three minutes when he received a second yellow in the fourth of seven generously allowed added minutes.
But it had been a stout-hearted display in which Rainworth, with youngster Adam Burton and another ex-Lynn player Mark Camm again faultless at the back and Danny Bacon, Lloyd and Jared Holmes all working well further forward.
Manager Kevin Gee had described Kings Lynn and leaders Coalville as ‘something a bit special’ at the top of an otherwise very tight division, and expressed his pride in his team afterwards for showing their ability to live and compete with a side of such quality.
His troops began in lively fashion, and in only the third minute Linnets keeper Danny Gay had to be smartly off his line to claim the ball at the feet of Karl Slack from Blair Anderson’s astute through pass, while at the opposite end Joe McCormack comfortably held Dan Quigley’s header onto Danny Beaumont’s accurate centre.
Gay stretched up to tip Holmes’ seventh minute 20-yard direct free kick over the bar and, from the ensuing corner, Jamie Thurlbourne cleared off the line, leading to a scramble in which Slack’s close range header went wide when he really should have scored.
It was Ricky Hanson’s turn to clear from under the Rainworth bar as the two sides continued to make it a pulsating contest.
Russell Dunkley for Kings Lynn and Slack for Rainworth both blew good chances before the nearest thing to a first half goal in the 28th minute when Dunkley’s glancing header came back off the bar.
The end to end action continued into the second half, and the deadlock was finally broken in the 53rd minute, when Holmes lashed home Slack’s intelligent lay-off to put the Wrens ahead.
But within 11 minutes they found themselves trailing as first Djunkley glanced home a 57th minute header from Thurlbourne’s cross and then seven minutes later Jordan Yong created himself some space in the left of the box to fire the Linnets into the lead.
Rainworth refused to allow their heads to drop, and within five more minutes they were back on terms. Anderson dispossessed Yong and fed the ball forward for Slack to beat Gay all ends up from the right of the penalty area.
That ended the scoring, but Jason Lee twice came to the visitors’ rescue , denying Slack a shot at goal on both occasions as Rainworth seemed to sense that the contest was winnable.
But it was not all one way traffic, and in between Stephen Spriggs sent a 20-yard ground shot skidding narrowly wide.
Holmes should have got the winner a minute into added time but met the same fate. Meanwhile, from goodness knows where, referee James Thornhill found cause to find seven added minutes, opting not to indicate this at the end of the 90.
And in the fourth of those minutes the already booked Lloyd blotted his copybook with a second cautionable foul which saw the Wrens play out the remaining minutes with 10 men.
RAINWORTH: McCormack, Walker, Hanson, Camm, Kitchen, Burton, Lloyd, Bacon, Slack, J. Holmes (Goward 90+1), Anderson (Cooksey 90+6). Subs not used: Clarke, Turner, Spargo.
KINGS LYNN: Day, Watson (Bexfield 73), Yong, Lee, Gulliver, Bunting, Spriggs, Quigley, Dunkley, Beaumont (Forshaw 73), Thurlbourne. Subs not used: Fryatt, Buhlemann.
REFEREE: James Thornhill of Ilkeston.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Adam Burton.