It snowed and Rainworth thought it was Christmas!!
Rainworth who were attempting to go four matches unbeaten for the first time in the league at this level: entertained Newcastle Town who were just above them; courtesy of a better goal difference.
Newcastle won the toss and kicked off with a strong wind behind them; and they were gifted a goal after only 3 minutes. After conceding a free kick on the left hand side of their penalty area Rainworth completely switched off as the ball was allowed to go to the far post were Neville Thompson slotted it home. Last season this would probably have been terminal; not so this year and Rainworth pushed forward seeking an equaliser. It was to come in the 8th minute when Ryan Goward played a delightful ball to Blair Anderson on the left and the striker cut in and stroked the ball into the top corner.
The rest of the half was punctuated with patches of dominance from both sides as they sought the second goal. Rainworth’s passing game was countered by Newcastle’s wide play and both came near to extending their lead; only to be let down by the final touch. In the 39th minute a moment of controversy as Joe McCormack came out to clear the ball; he slipped and fell with the ball striking his arm outside of the area. The referee consulted his linesman with Rainworth pleading his defence and Newcastle claiming it prevented a goal scoring opportunity. A free kick was the subsequent decision with McCormack receiving a yellow card; on another day he may have walked; but not today.
There was still time for both sides to create and miss further chances; but the half ended 1-1 and on reflection it was probably fair. The talking point at half-time however was should Joe McCormack have been sent off; there were cases put forward by both sets of fans; but neither mattered as the referee had already judged that he shouldn’t.
The second half nearly started like the first with Rainworth nearly gifting a second goal in the 47th minute; but they managed to scramble it clear. Rainworth were beginning to get on top and in quick succession Karl Slack was twice denied by the keeper; this was to be his last contribution in the match as he was substituted by Ian Holmes shortly afterwards. The 65th minute brought the biggest cheer of the match as Daniel Bacon; the fans favourite at long last broke his duck with a deflected shot; minutes later Blair Anderson was replaced by Jordan Turner .Newcastle pushed for the equaliser and in the 71st minute once again sloppy defending from Rainworth allowed Christian Millar time and space to slot home the equaliser.
Whilst keeping clean sheets seem to be a thing of the past now for Rainworth; scoring is no longer the problem it was. Newcastle were given a warning when an offside decision thwarted Jordan Turner; quickly followed by a Callum Lloyd shot that just went over the bar. The deciding goal came in the 85th minute when Ryan Goward found Jordan Turner and as the goalkeeper advanced he coolly chipped the ball over him and into the net. Soon after the referee blew the whistle for full –time and in truth either side could have won the game with the chances created.
The currency in this league however is goals and in the past it has been Rainworth’s Achilles heel; but not now; 11 goals and 10pts in four matches speak volumes for the advances made this season. Although they are conceding more goals they are now converting at a healthy rate and the fans can have no complaints with the results this is bringing.
RAINWORTH: McCormack; Walker; Goward; Camm (Cpt); Kitchen; Burton; Slack (I.Holmes 61); Lloyd; J.Holmes (Hanson 67); Bacon; Anderson (Turner 68); Sub not used; Cooksey
NEWCASTLE TOWN: Parton; Asky; Wint; Bayley (Cpt); Carter; Lowe; Diskin; Millar; Thompson; France (Ashman 55); Thorley (Nicholls 63). Subs not used; Hutchinson; Harrison.
Referee: Tommy Hollidge (Leicester)
Man of Match: Daniel Bacon