Wrens can't halt Yeltz promotion surge
PROMOTION chasing Halesowen Town stretched their winning sequence to seven matches against a Rainworth side which played attractive football up to the 18-yard line and then lost their way.
The Wrens may have kept hotshot Ben Haseley off the Yeltz score sheet, but the prolific striker of 36 goals this season played his part in the two that the Black Country side did score.
Meanwhile Rainworth were left once again to rue their lack of a potent striker to ease the pressure on Conor Higginson as, for all their eye-catching approach play, they let Town keeper Paul Evans off with as easy an afternoon as he will have all season.
The visitors won it with two first half strikes, in the 22nd and 44th minutes but, apart from the extra sharpness that they carried had up front, there really was not much to choose between the sides.
The Wrens were looking for a league double having won 3-1 at The Grove in October, but they never looked like halting Halesowen’s impressive sequence, especially once the first goal had gone in.
That goal might have arrived much earlier, in only the second minute, when Joe Hull’s bullet header onto a corner was blocked on the line by Ryan Goward for a follow-up flag kick, and subsequently a third before Sam Purcicoe finally got the ball away.
And two minutes later, when Haseley released Luke Corbett, the striker miscued his finish weakly at keeper Ale Barcherini.
Jermain Hollis was at the heart of a promising move by Rainworth but his tight-angled shot was deflected for a corner which was half cleared to Jared Holmes, whose first time effort was deflected to safety. And the visitors went straight down to the other end to take the lead. Haseley had burst away through inside-left, but pulled his finish beyond the far upright. However, Jean Gueyes was on hand to steer it in at the post.
Barcherini blocked with his body from Haseley after the striker had blazed a path past Purcicoe, and the keeper denied the striker again in the 41st minute, clearing ahead of Haseley on the 18-yard line after Corbett had split the defence with an incisive through pass.
But Halesowen were not to be denied, and they got their second a minute before the interval, skipper Neil Barnfield providing the finish after the defence failed several times to clear their lines.
There was still time before the break for Gueyes to go agonizingly close, his deft chip over the advancing Barcherini bouncing behind off the top of the bar.
Rainworth needed an early goal if they were to haul themselves back into contention after the break, but the impressive Joe Hull took the ball off Conor Higginson’s toe as a chance opened up for him eight minutes in.
Barcherini needed an acrobatic save at full stretch to tip away a dangerous cross by Gueyes which looked to pick out Corbett as play switched from end to end.
Twice Adam Kimberley needed too long to pull the trigger for the Wrens with half-chances on, then, with four minutes to go, his spearing drive was deflected inches wide for a corner, with Holmes volleying wide from the clearance.
And, as the game entered added time, a neat interchange between Higginson and Holmes set up Goward, whose hurried shot from inside the area flew well wide.
For Rainworth skipper Mark Camm was his usual inspirational self although he blamed himself for the second goal, and loanee Jonathan Wiliams also showed why parent club Gainsborough are keen to re-sign him for next season with a solid display.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini, Purcicoe, Goward, Camm, Kitchen, Williams, Hanson, Hollis (Jenkins 58), Higginson, J. Holmes, Kimberley. Subs not used: White, Bacon.
HALESOWEN: Evans, Bowen, Meacham, Botfield, Hull, Kelly (Parker 79), Griffiths, Barnfield, Corbett (Arshad 74), Haseley, Gueyes (Warmer 70). Subs not used: Kargbo, Flower.
REFEREE: Mark Hutchinson of Bingham.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Mark Camm.