On a night the lights’ went out on Rainworth.
After seven games unbeaten; you don’t beat the third placed team by gifting them three goals. It would be wrong however to say that Stamford didn’t deserve to win for they converted nearly all their chances and played extremely well.
Rainworth showed three changes from the previous game a 2-1 victory at Belper; and expectations were high for the visit of high flying Stamford. The game was barely 4 minutes old when a Stamford throw was allowed to bounce around the area. Rainworth had at least three opportunities to clear the ball; but it was Stamford’s Ricky Miller who struck the ball into the roof of the net for the first goal of the game. This has become something of the norm as it had taken only 3 minutes for Rainworth to gift Belper a goal in the previous game.
Goal scoring has however not been a problem during the unbeaten run; and for the next 15 minutes Rainworth began to claw their way back into the game. Jordan Turner hit a fierce shot just over the bar and a long range Callum Lloyd effort was easily collected by the keeper. Then the talking point of the evening on 19 minutes the ground was plunged into darkness as a result of a power cut; it was fully a further 15 minutes before the game was restarted.In the 28th minute a Stamford break found Ricky Miller one on one at the edge of the box; he turned the defender and struck an unstoppable shot for Stamford’s second. This was the last action of note; as the first half came to a close with the score 2-0 in Stamford’s favour.
Stamford continued to pressurise at the start of the second half and they were rewarded when Gary King converted yet another Rainworth gift; the dream of the unbeaten run continuing all but ended there and then. In a rare sortie by Rainworth a Callum Lloyd drive just cleared the Stamford bar. In the 64th minute Ryan Goward and Karl Slack replaced Jared Holmes and Jordan Turner. Rather than it pulling Rainworth back into the game another gift goal was only prevented by an acrobatic clearance by Ashley Kitchen; this was to be his last contribution as he was replaced by Lee Cooksey.
Rainworth did nearly breech the Stamford goal when in the 79th minute a Ryan Goward cross was headed against the crossbar by Karl Slack with the keeper well beaten. This was to be the closest Rainworth would come in the match; but there was still time for one more gift. In the 90th minute substitute Jake Gibson gratefully accepted the wayward pass to score Stamford’s fourth goal.
The score line may have flattered Stamford; but there was no denying they were the better team on the night. Rainworth put in a below par performance against a very good Stamford team who must surely be up there in the promotion and play-off mix at the end of the season. As for Rainworth their dreams of being involved in the mix took a backward step; but with 25 games remaining there is still time. The habit of gifting goals; especially to the top sides; must quickly be remedied; but even so in the previous seven games there has been much to give encouragement for the remainder of the season.
RAINWORTH: McCormack; Walker; Hanson; Camm; Kitchen (Cooksey 75); Craven; Lloyd; Bacon; Turner (Slack 64); Bacon; J. Holmes (Goward 64); Dyer-Stewart. Subs : (not used) Burton; Barcherini.
STAMFORD: Finlay; Maddox; Mayo; Batchelor; Jones; Jacklin; Hall; Ozmen (Smith 80); King (Cotton 83): Miller (Gibson 85); Brooks. Subs: (not used) Hamilton; Mullarkey.
Referee: Andy Newbold (Loughborough)
Man of match: Mark Camm.