Coalville’s Title Dreams Hang by a Thread.
Coalville visited Kirklington Road needing a win and hoping that Market Drayton did them a favour to have a realistic chance of the title. The one time runaway leaders were now in second place behind Kings Lynn and facing the reality of the play-offs.
Rainworth were unbeaten in three and had no intention of helping Coalville in their quest for automatic promotion. There was a reasonable crowd buoyed by a group of trainee referee’s from Coalville who positioned themselves behind their opponent’s goal. Also in the crowd were a number of Rainworth regulars who had spent the last week playing Football Manager and during the match it was definitely apparent.
The first few minutes saw both sides vying for superiority with neither able to assert themselves. However in the 7th minute Ryan Goward’s free kick was easily saved by Sean Bowles in the Coalville goal. Coalville were playing like a team who had lost their way, after being the leagues runaway leaders for so long and it was Rainworth who were on top. In the 21st minute a Kieran Walker long throw evaded the keeper and it was only Anthony Carney’s last gasp intervention that prevented Callum Lloyd from scoring.
In the 29th minute Coalville had their first real goal threat, from a goalmouth scramble Carney hit the post, but Rainworth cleared the ball at the expense of a corner. The trainee referees behind the goal screamed ‘Penalty!!’ fortunately for them, there was no assessor present, otherwise I fear their potential careers would have ended right then. Just when it looked that Coalville were getting on top in the 38th minute Damien Magee’s cross was headed on by Ricky Hanson but Adam Somes missed the chance. The half ended 0-0 and it had done little to calm Coalville’s nerves.
The second half kicked off with Rainworth having the breeze at their backs and they soon put Coalville on the back foot. At this stage it was all Rainworth and Somes had three good efforts to put them in front, but none found the back of the net. Just when it seemed they would never score Rainworth took the lead, when in the 66th minute Hanson’s cross found Jared Holmes and coolly placed it wide of the keeper. At this point it seemed only a matter of time before Rainworth increased the lead, it nearly happened when in the 71st minute Somes’s shot was blocked and Ryan Goward’s follow up was fumbled by the keeper.
However Rainworth’s Achilles heel was to come back to haunt them, after failing to convert numerous chances to kill off the game they allowed Coalville back into it. As Rainworth started to tire, Coalville hit back. Two Stuart Cameron free kicks were brilliantly saved by Neil West, but the warning wasn’t heeded. Then in the 83rd minute Ryan Robbins broke free on the left and his inch perfect cross was emphatically hit home by substitute David Leigh. On 90 minutes Rainworth made a substitution Kieran Wells for Adam Somes, but there was no further scoring and the game ended all square.
Coalville still have a slim chance of automatic promotion, although they will have to win their two remaining games and hope Kings Lynn slip up on theirs. They must be rueing their end of season collapse, for at the beginning of this year they seemed destined to be crowned champions. Rainworth on the other hand will look back on the season with mixed emotions, at times they have matched the best, but consistency has been a missing ingredient. The fans are happy at being still in the league but their next year’s expectations are to be in Coalville’s position at least. As for Coalville we would like to wish them well as they continue their quest for promotion to the Premier League.
RAINWORTH: West; Hanson; Magee; Camm; Walker; Kitchen; Lloyd; Bacon; Somes (Wells 90); J.Holmes; Goward. Subs (not used): Watson; Claxton.
COALVILLE: Bowles; Jenno; Cameron; Kay; Hill; Maddison; Woodward; Carline (Leigh); Robbins; Murdock; Carney. Subs (not ue=sed): Powell; Everitt; Astley; Gibson.
Referre: Andrew Park (Lincoln).
Man of match: Ricky Hanson.