Achilles' heel returns to haunt Wrens
RAINWORTH’S old Achilles’ heel looks to have returned to haunt them as they suffered their third successive defeat to first time visitors Chasetown on Saturday.
The renowned FA Cup fighters from Staffordshire had defeated the Wrens by the same 2-0 scoreline in the third qualifying round during their run to the third round proper five years ago, when they fell to eventual finalists Cardiff City, but not before defeating Port Vale on the way.
Those with long memories will recall that Rainworth’s defeat that day came amid controversial circumstances, but there was to be no overdue recompense, as for the third time in a row they failed to score, despite their second half domination.
By then the Scholars were already two goals to the good, courtesy of goals from Andrew Westwood in the 26th minute and Gary Hay two minutes before the break.
Yet it could have been all so different had Blair Anderson managed to keep his six-yard header onto Kieran Walker’s cross on target with the contest just 25 seconds old, although to be fair to Anderson he was stretching to meet it.
And, although Hay forced a sprawling save out of Ale Barcherini, recalled to the side after a lengthy absence for an eye operation, in the seventh minute, it was Rainworth who made more of the early running.
Visiting keeper Ryan Price had to dash some 25 yards out of his area to clear ahead of Karl Slack, who then came up with a neat flick onto Ricky Hanson’s astute delivery into the area, but Price was equal to that one and managed to hold it.
Chasetown sounded a warning in the 21st minute when Barcherini did very well to save one-on-one from Hay, and as the Scholars came more into the picture in the second quarter—their only spell of real control—with Theo Robinson troublesome along the left, they took a 26th minute lead. A free kick into the box was only half cleared and Westwood’s low 20-yard drive skidded into the net through a packed defence off the greasy surface, with Barcherini probably seeing it late.
Slack did see a shot on the turn deflected over the bar for a corner, but Chasetown moved two up just before the break when Hay was on hand at the far post to steer home an angled cross from the left.
There was a delayed start to the second half with the ground shrouded in smoke from a fire on a neighbouring allotment, but when it did get under way Rainworth began to play some attractive football, only to see it wasted by a reluctance on the part of anyone to have a shot at goal.
Both Slack and Jared Holmes failed to capitalise on Anderson’s goods work on the left, and Price tipped over Slack’s near post header onto Walker’s long throw.
Chasetown still looked dangerous on the break though, and Barcherini was forced to parry a good effort from overall man of the match Theo Robinson.
In contrast, Rainworth were not testing Price often enough given their share of possession, although the keeper did have to smother the ball on the line from Ashley Kitchen’s back header from another long throw.
It might have been even worse for the home side, though, with Barcherini needing another point blank save to deny Nick Wellecomme after Westwood had weaved his way around the back of the home defence.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini, Walker, Goward, Camm, Kitchen, Hanson, Lloyd, Bacon, Slack (Cooksey 83), J. Holmes (Burton 85), Anderson.
CHASETOWN: Price, Downes, Branch, Farmer, Tesfa Robinson, Bate, Westwood, Saunders (Ashton 63), Wellecomme, Hay (Sullivan 70), Theo Robinson (Jackson 85). Subs not used: Clarke, Kisiel.
REFEREE: Stuart Eagland of Lichfield.
RAINWORTH MAN OF THE MATCH: Blair Anderson.