Away monkey off stylish Wrens' backs at last
RAINWORTH finally and belatedly secured their first away points of the season with a fine 3-1 victory at early promotion chasers Halesowen Town.
It could, and should, have been even more decisive on balance of play and chances created, indeed Kevin Gee’s men should have been out of sight by half time instead of just one goal to the good. But the travelling Wrens fans were not complaining, having seen them score just once on tour in the league hitherto, and were happy to see that particular monkey off their backs.
For their favourites were solid and resilient in defence, competitive and constructive in midfield, and lively and industrious if again somewhat profligate up front.
A late consolation goal for the Yeltz maybe took a little of the shine off the result, but there was no doubting that Rainworth were worthy and convincing winners over their fifth placed hosts, and this after becoming only third team this season to take any points off Kings Lynn the previous Tuesday.
Having created and scorned so many first half chances it was somewhat ironic at half time to reflect that their one first half goal, in the eighth minute, had been gift-wrapped by home keeper Simon Flower, who made a hash of dealing with a back pass, allowing Blair Anderson to rob him and slot the ball into the empty net.
As the half went on Rainworth looked more likely to be beaten by the deceptively greasy surface than by anything the Yeltz could offer—meanwhile Flower proceeded to go some way towards atoning for his earlier error when he twice saved from Karl Slack in one on ones before producing a great save in turning Callum Lloyd’s stinging 20-yarder for a corner.
And when Kieran Watson found Flower out of his goal the keeper was grateful to see Nathaniel Caines clear off the line.
Meanwhile, Halesowen were unlucky when Pershore official John Roskelly called play back with Luke Corbett breaking clear, because of a head injury to debutant Mitchell Botfield.
Halesowen were expected to come out fired up for the second half after the inevitable blast from new boss John Hill, and so they did.
Joe McCormack had to leave his area to clear ahead of Corbett, and the keeper then blocked from Haseley, the impressive Ash Kitchen getting in the way of the follow-up at the expense of a corner, and Gavin Winsper’s downward header from the ensuing flag kick dropping just the wrong side of the post.
But Rainworth rode the storm well and soon regained the initiative with a second goal in the 56th minute. Slack was the architect with some fine close control on the left of the area before feeding the ball into the six-yard box for Walker to do the rest.
The game looked all over as a contest 12 minutes later when the Wrens went three up, Ryan Goward nipping in to head home Kitchen’s long punt forward which Flower seemed to think he had well covered.
Flower saved with his legs when Watson burst through the middle to try a shot as Town came under more pressure, but the home side’s woe seemed complete when substitute Craig Milligan received an inevitable straight red card in the 86th minute for a foul and abusive ‘word of advice’ to the referee.
That, though, seemed to galvanise Halesowen, who pulled a goal back a minute later when fellow sub Ben Smith powered home a firm header from a corner.
And they almost made it a grandstand finish in the 89th, Mark Camm doing just enough to clear for a corner ahead of Corbett, and Winsper hitting the side netting form the resulting set play.
But it was home keeper Flower who had the final word right on the whistle, saving with his legs again, this time to deny Wrens substitute Ewan Clarke.
HALESOWEN: Flower, Miller, Caines, S. Brooks, Hull (Lester 84), Botfield (Smith 71), Steane (Milligan 32), Winsper, Corbett, Haseley, Gueyes. Subs not used: Evans, W. Brooks.
RAINWORTH: McCormack, Walker, Goward, Camm, Kitchen, Burton (Cooksey 83), Lloyd, Bacon, Slack (Turner 81), J. Holmes, Anderson (Clarke 83).
REFEREE: John Roskelly of Pershore, Worcestershire.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Blair Anderson.