Oh what a circus, Oh what a show!!
The circus was at Kirklington Road on its annual visit and for long periods of the game Rainworth where determined to be part of it.
Today’s Evo-Stik Division One South encounter between Rainworth and Market Drayton didn’t follow the script as Rainworth failed to turn up for most of the match. Earlier in the season Rainworth visited them and won 4-1 against a side that looked contenders for relegation. How things have changed since then and with a change of manager, Market Drayton have won their last two games and are quickly moving up the table.
Both sides started cautiously and it wasn’t until the 9th minute that either side worked an opening, on this occasion Rainworth’s Jordan Ball almost found Jamie Clarke but Market Drayton were able to clear. Then in the 11th minute Rainworth reverted to their kamikaze defending style, when they failed to clear in their penalty area and Nick Porter placed his shot into the corner of the net giving Jamie Martin no chance.
After last Saturday’s magnificent rear-guard action against table toppers Leek Town, the defending had a keystone cops feel to it although Porter’s finish was sublime. The fans feared the worst, was this to be one of those days when Rainworth didn’t perform? When in the 15th minute Delroy Fox’s free-kick cleared the bar the consensus was, Yes!! That was until the 22nd minute when from a corner Clarke’s weak header was lashed home by Ashley Longstaffe for the equaliser.
Where Rainworth now going to get back into the game and reproduce the game plan that has proved successful for large periods of the season so far. As quickly as the optimism rose, so it was dashed as Mark Dudley missed his tackle on Rob Stevenson and Yannick Makota placed the ball into the net. Market Drayton were now in the ascendency bit it was Rainworth who had the best chance, when in the 31st minute Longstaffe’s turn and shot just cleared the cross bar. Longstaffe was to have another chance but from Ball’s pass he shot over the bar.
The remainder of the half was all Market Drayton and in the 38th minute Fox looked to have scored, only for Martin to make an excellent save. This was followed by a great cross from Stevenson only for Makota to put it wide when it seemed easier to score. Still Rainworth hadn’t learned and when Stevenson crossed yet again, this time it was played into the path of Porter who made no mistake. The whistle went for half-time in a half for Rainworth to forget and with Market Drayton well worth their 3-1 lead.
For the first fifteen minutes of the second half Rainworth could make no impression and Market Drayton always carried a threat. Then out of nothing a Kieran Walker long throw was met by Clarke’s head and it found the back of the net, to give Rainworth a glimmer of hope in a game that up to then they had been second best.
This was to be the turning point as Rainworth started to pressurise with a succession of long throws that were causing Market Drayton serious problems. From one such throw Longstaffe shot over the bar and in another they somehow managed to clear. It was now which would come first the referees whistle or a Rainworth goal as they laid siege. The goal almost came from yet another long throw when Walker struck the crossbar, quickly followed by a Callum Lloyd shot that flashed across the goal mouth. Just when it seemed that Market Drayton would survive a fine move found Clarke and he hit his shot into the corner of the goal for the equaliser. That was the final opportunity of the match and the game ended in a draw.
It was a strange match, Market Drayton must have been gutted not to have taken all three points and for two thirds of the match they had been the team most likely to win. However the last twenty minutes belonged to Rainworth and at the final whistle they were the only team likely to score. Football is all about goals and that is the currency and whatever you might think it ended 3-3 so any other statistics are irrelevant. I just hope the circus has gone for next week’s home match against Kidsgrove Athletic; I’ve had enough of watching the clowns for this season.
RAINWORTH: Martin; Walker; Dudley; Lloyd; Varley; Saunders; Cullingworth (Hanson 88); Magee; Longstaffe; Clarke; Ball (Rickards 78) Subs(not used); Hawkins; Gregory; Rogers.
Referee; Mr Andy Newbould.
Man of match: Jamie Clarke.