Wrens are drowned in the Moat
RAINWORTH’S roller-coaster season continued its downward trend at The Moat Ground this afternoon as they suffered a 3-0 loss.
Following their recent fine form this was the Wrens’ second successive defeat, during which they have shipped seven goals without finding the target themselves, and have dropped from the Play-off zone to ninth in the Division One South table.
Rainworth had looked the more enterprising outfit during the first quarter of the match, but failed to take any of their chances, and the scores remained goalless at half time.
Towards the end of the first half the Moatmen had come more into the picture, and with three clinical finishes after the interval they finished convincing and deserved victors.
The Moat is a curious switchback of a ground, with forwards attacking uphill from the half way line which ever way they are playing. It is merely that the gradient towards one end is more severe than the other.
Rainworth had what benefit there was of the slope, playing up the gentler gradient in the first half, but their failure to capitalise on the more favourable conditions was expected to be punished, and so it was.
Gresley, who included three ex-Wrens in James Jepson, Phil Massingham and Rob Spencer, and who also have a female first team coach in Hannah Dingley—herself no stranger to Kirklington Road—were soon on the back foot, and inside the first four minutes Callum Lloyd just failed to connect his head to a corner, and Karl Slack had a shot blocked following some enterprising work by Blair Anderson, who then set up Jordan Turner to finish wide.
Midway through the half Gresley came more into the picture, with Joe McCormack needing an excellent point blank save to deny Jordan Nadat.
And although Slack beat the offside from Danny Bacon’s probing through pass, only to shoot wide as keeper George Woodward cut the angle, Rainworth worryingly began to give the ball away too cheaply too often.
And they had a real let-off when McCormack again parried from Nadat at point-blank, the follow-up being blocked by Ashley Kitchen and the ball flying upwards and behind off the top of the bar.
Ricky Hanson was a head clash victim in the opening moments of the second half but resumed after treatment. However, five minutes in the deadlock was broken with the Wrens defence static as home skipper Jamie Barrett nodded home a corner.
Rainworth won two corners of their own in quick succession in reply, but could not make them count, any more than they could a direct 20-yard free kick from a central position after Turner was upended.
Barrett’s outstretched leg denied Turner a shot from Kieran Walker’s trademark long throw, but Rainworth had a scare in the 59th minute when Jepson headed against the bar. The warning went unheeded, and two minutes later Nadat and Massingham combined on the left, Massingham’s cross shot finding a final touch by Spencer to double the Moatmen’s lead.
Immediately Rainworth withdrew Anderson, brought on Ryan Goward into defence, and pushed the now head-banded Hanson down the right wing.And Goward had a shot from distance well held under the bar.
But it was effectively game over in the 80th minute . Spencer escaped along the left, pulled over a cross, and sub Rich Hanslow drove home past the advancing McCormack.
Turner scorned the chance of a consolation in the 88th minute, heading over a virtually open goal following Walker’s persistent and skilful work on the right.
GRESLEY: Woodward, Roome, Gough, Strzyzewski, Barrett, Holmes, Lyons (Langford 86), Jepson, Nadat (Hanslow 73), Massingham (Turville 82), Spencer. Subs not used: Goodfellow, Bryant.
RAINWORTH: McCormack, Walker, Hanson, Camm, Kitchen, Burton, Lloyd, Bacon, Slack (Cooksey 79), Turner, Anderson (Goward 61). Sub not used: White.
REFEREE: Ben Cooke of Atherstone.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Kieran Walker.