Wrens 'clubbed' by Sheffield's second half double
THE UNSEASONAL snow break seems to have done nothing to halt Rainworth’s recent slump as visitors Sheffield overturned a 1-0 interval deficit to go home celebrating a 2-1 victory.
Kieran Wells marked his home debut for the Wrens by heading them into a 25th minute lead from Kieran Walker’s long throw.
Walker, filling in at the heart of defence with skipper Mark Camm and Ashley Kitchen still nursing injuries sustained before the snow took a hand, was head and shoulders above anyone else on the field for wither side, and had it not been for some top drawer challenges at crucial times the margin of defeat would have been greater.
That is not to say that Sheffield, who included former Wren Lee Cooksey, deserved a bigger win, indeed the balance of play may have been better reflected by a share of the spoils.
But even Walker could do nothing about the two second half goals which turned the game Sheffield’s way.
The first, in the 53rd minute, came from the spot. Keeper Alessandro Barcherini clattered into Richard Stirrup when a corner was not cleared, and ‘Club’ skipper Steve Woolley slotted the penalty to Barcherini’s right hand bottom corner.
Ten minutes later another corner presented Sheffield’s best player, Jamie Hadfield, with the simplest of headers, and there was no way back for the Wrens.
As well as Wells making his home debut, Rainworth included new boy Kieran Watson for his debut, while Ian Holmes was also available for his Easter break from university, and there were debuts from the bench for Lincoln City wok experience youngster Luke Weaver, and Adam Somes following his return to the club which he had previously played for while on loan from Mansfield Town.
Walker gave a hint of his personal display to come in the third minute with a fine interception in midfield, a surging forward run and a 23-yard shot which was unfortunately too high.
Walker was immense at the other end in the 11th minute with a superlative challenge to deny the well-placed Woolley a shot at goal.
Wells for Rainworth and Joel Purkiss for Sheffield were both just too high before the Wrens striker headed Walker’s long throw from the right in at the near post.
Five minutes later one of the assistant referees pulled up and, after a lengthy delay, a call was broadcast for a volunteer to do duty until half time, when local official Ian Dudley arrived.
Holmes appeared taken by surprise when Sheffield keeper Liam Flynn made a hash of Ricky Hanson’s high cross, heading over an open goal.
With Jared Holmes on for Danny Bacon, Watson might have followed Wells’ lead with a debut goal five minutes into the restart after breaking free, electing instead to try to set up Ian Holmes and overhit his pass.
But three minutes later Sheffield were level from Woolley’s deadly spot kick, and two more minutes on only another superbly timed challenge by Walker denied Jon Muldoon who looked to have the goal at his mercy.
However, Sheffield did get their second in the 83rd minute when a corner was poorly defended and Hadfield applied the finishing touch.
Ian Holmes was close to an equalizer in the 83rd minute when Walker helped on Ryan Goward’s deep cross, and fittingly it was Walker who had the final say in stoppage time to deny veteran substitute Vill Powell who had run from behind to beat the offside.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini, Hanson (Weaver 82), Goward, Williams (Somes 79), Walker, Magee, Lloyd, Bacon (J. Holmes ht), Watson, I. Holmes, Wells. Sub not used: Claxton.
SHEFFIELD: Flynn, Eagers, Waddle, Burrell, Hadfield (Colley 86), Cooksey, Gascoigne, Stirrup, Muldoon, Purkiss (Powell 76), Woolley (Roney 68). Subs not used: Al-Hakam, Taylor.
REFEREE: Geoff Law of Leicester.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Kieran Walker.