Carlton benefit from Referees April Fool joke!!.
The laws of the game are open to the referee’s interpretation: and today Carlton where beneficiaries of one. In an incident as clear a red card offence as is possible in the law book the referee downgraded it to yellow!
Rainworth owed their travelling fans a performance, after a March campaign where they didn’t even manage a solitary point. Both sides fielded below strength sides Carlton with one eye on their Wednesday nights Notts Cup semi-final and Rainworth because of an injury crisis. The weather was more akin to November than April, with a bitterly cold swirling wind; this had dried the pitch out making the bounce of the ball a lottery at times. So once you included local derby into the mix, a feast of football was not going to be an option. However the game was hard fought and not without controversy with both sides pushing for a victory.
As early as the 2nd minute Carlton threatened the Rainworth goal with Wes Henry’s shot finding Blair Anderson and only a timely block by Ricky Hanson prevented them opening the score. The first Rainworth attempt came in the 12th minute when Callum Llloyd fed Ryan Goward but he hit his shot wide when well placed. At this stage the game was evenly contested but in the 17th minute Jack Thomas’s shot was brilliantly saved by Alessandro Barcherini. This however came at some cost and he needed extensive treatment to a tight hamstring. He was tested again in the 22nd minute when Thomas’s shot was once again well saved.
In the 26th the moment of controversy in the match occurred, with Kieran Wells bearing down on goal he was cynically tripped from behind by Corey Nightingale on the edge of the area. Carlton must have feared the worst; it looked a certain red card offence, a player in a scoring position fouled by the last man. The referee however decided to show Yellow, I awaited the words ‘April Fool’ but they never came. From the free-kick Hanson’s shot was brilliantly saved by Jordan Fell; and Rainworth were left to contemplate just what might have been if Wells had not been fouled. Both sides had further chances but at the end of the half the scores remained level.
Rainworth must have thought it wasn’t going to be their day when they had to replace keeper Barcherini with striker Adam Soames, and Carlton brought on Josh Thornton with Wednesdays match looking less important. It was Rainworth however that started to get on top and in the 53rd minute Fell pulled off two fine saves in quick succession to prevent Ian Holmes from scoring. This was quickly followed by a Wells header just clearing the bar and yet again Holmes’s shot was well saved by Fell.
Against the run of play Wes Henry broke away only to see his shot blocked for a corner by Kieran Walker. Carlton then decided that today’s game was taking priority and brought on Alexander Troke and leading scorer Ruben Wiggins-Thomas. Rainworth still had the majority of the play and in the 68th minute Ryan Goward’s goal bound shot was brilliantly tipped over by Fell at the expense of a corner. In the 69th minute Holmes set up Kieran Watson but he put his shot wide, Carlton’s were being limited to counter-attacks. Wells and Holmes combined again only for the latter to be flagged offside. Then Holmes was the provider to Watson whose shot was well saved by Fell. In the 87th minute Watson was replaced by Jared Holmes as Rainworth made one last push for a breakthrough. Goward came close when Fell just managed to grab hold of his in-swinging corner. The last chance of the game fell to Carlton as Troke’s shot was brilliantly saved by stand-in keeper Soames and shortly afterwards the whistle went for the end of the game. Rainworth can take heart from their performance and it left us wondering what might have happened if the referee hadn’t played the ‘April Fool’.
CARLTON: Fell; Smithson (Thornton 45); Gordon; McAulty (Troke 65); Varley; Nightingale; Thomas; Gent; Henry (Wiggins-Thomas 67): Anderson; Whitehurst. Subs (not used): Topliss; Fletcher.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini (Soames 45); Hanson; Goward; Williams; Walker; Magee; Lloyd; Claxton; Watson (J. Holmes 87); I. Holmes; Wells Subs (not used) Weaver; Shaw.
Referee: Ollie Yates.
Man of the Match: Kieran Wells.