What Mid-Week Blues?
Tuesday’s NPL Division One South game against Brigg Town was full of trepidation for Rainworth. Brigg had secured their first league win earlier in the season at Kirklington Road and Rainworth had amassed one win in their eight games played mid-week.
The game was barely four seconds old when Matt Varley found himself on his backside and was duly awarded a free kick. He took the free-kick himself and found Ashley Longstaffe who taking it on his chest, turned and placed his driven shot wide of the keeper, there was only 30 seconds on the clock. This was just the start that Rainworth needed to settle them down. Brigg’s response was to put Rainworth under pressure and as the defence hesitated James Martin made a point-blank save to deny Brigg the equaliser.
The game was end to end, but neither side was able to apply the final touch, although Brigg were starting to get a foothold in the game. As the half progressed Brigg came more into the game and only a fine block in the 39th minute prevented Elliot Broughton getting on the score sheet. A succession of Brigg corners were quickly followed by a fine run by Liam Dickens but when well -placed he shot wide. Rainworth were starting to defend deeper and in the 42nd minute a well struck free-kick was headed into the Rainworth goal by Ryan Paczowski for a deserved equaliser. That is how the half ended with the score 1-1, with Brigg now on top and looking the likeliest to score next.
Brigg started the second half as they had ended the first, another piece of poor defending almost cost them a goal, they went even nearer in the 50th minute George Zuerner’s shot struck the cross-bar and was somehow cleared. The corner count was nearing double figures and Rainworth replaced Gregory Simmons with Jack Hawklns in an attempt to stem the Brigg pressure.
Rainworth started to edge back into the game and when Longstaffe crossed to Jordan Ball only a fine save at the expense of a corner prevented a goal. A 69th minute James Cullingworth free-kick was sliced by Saunders but Keiran Walker was on hand to steer it into the net. The 2-1 scoreline gave a distorted look to the match as up to then Brigg had the lion’s share of the play.
Brigg were now streaming forward at every opportunity, but they left themselves open to the counter-attack, fortunately for Brigg during this period ‘offside’ was their best defender. The game was getting stretched and Rainworth almost capitalised as Ball, Hawkins and Longstaffe efforts went close.
Hawkins was guilty of a rash challenge in the 81st minute and he was given a yellow card. Still Brigg chased the equaliser and in their desperation pushed more players forward. This was to be their undoing as for once ‘offside’ was not their friend when Hawkins found Longstaffe and his shot put the game out of Brigg’s reach. The final score of 3-1 flattered Rainworth, whose goals came in the first and last twenty minutes.
Once again the unforgiving face of football had denied Brigg at least a share of the spoils, in a game when they dominated every statistic but goals scored. Rainworth can take credit on the way they battled and when they eventually overcame the offside calls, always posed a threat. Brigg to their credit no longer have the look of the relegation candidates that their early season form suggested.
RAINWORTH: Martin; Walker; Dudley; Lloyd; Varley; Saunders; Cullingworth; Magee; Longstaffe; Ball (Rickards 87); Simmons (Hawkins 55) Subs (not used): Rogers; Hanson; Gregory.
Referee: Mr Steve Wade
Man of Match: Keiran Walker