No ‘Goal Scare’ here!!
The last time Rainworth and Loughborough were scheduled to play a ‘bomb scare’ forced its postponement, today it needed a bomb to wake the sides out of their slumber.
On a pitch dried by the wind the conditions were never going to favour a passing game and so it proved, in what only can be described as a game to forget.
Loughborough kicked with a breeze at their backs but the first chance of the match fell to Rainworth in the 7th minute. A Matt Varley long throw caused panic in the six yard box and as it fell to Jamie Clarke his shot was deflected for a corner.
This was to be the only action of note until in the 17th minute Loughborough’s Dean Gent’s pile-driver from the edge of the area flashed by the upright. A period of Loughborough pressure followed aided by the strong breeze.
In quick succession Kris Nurse wasted a good chance and then Nathan Watson’s shot just flashed by as Loughborough went on the front foot. However a couple of minutes later a sustained piece of Rainworth pressure almost resulted in a goal, as Scott Rickards found Ashley Longstaff whose fierce shot was tipped around the post by Kahill Mann-Kier for a corner.
Loughborough were having the lion’s share of the play and after another goal-mouth scramble in the Rainworth area, Watson again hit his shot past the upright. It was Watson again, this time he hit a beautiful cross into the penalty area only for Nurse to hit the chance well wide.
Rainworth’s player manager Rickards pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and before he could be substituted the referee blew for half-time. It had been a half of few chances but Loughborough had shaded it with the help of the strong breeze.
Rainworth brought Sam Saunders on for Rickards and he was quickly into the action heading a Watson cross to safety. The breeze favoured Rainworth and in the 51st minute a weak effort by Longstaff was easily gathered.
Then in the 55th minute Rainworth thought they had taken the lead when Longstaff found Clarke who beat Mann-Kier all ends up, only to be disallowed for offside. The game was anything but a spectacle with both sides giving the ball away with great regularity.
It was still Rainworth who created half chances, but Clarke and Jack Hawkins were off target with their efforts. On a quick break Loughborough should have scored when Nurse with only the keeper to beat inexplicably put his shot the wrong side of the upright.
Both sides brought on their substitutes Rainworth’s Magee and Whitman for Gregory and Clarke, but to no effect. The only other effort of note was in the 84th minute when from Hawkins corner, Longstaff’s header grazed the crossbar.
The game was descending into more kick and hope and the fans were relieved when the referee blew for full-time with neither side deserving of victory. Rainworth were definitely suffering from a lack of match action in the last month and Loughborough’s scoring run never looked like being extended.
Rainworth: Martin: Gregory(Magee 65); Dudley; Lloyd; Edridge; Varley; Rickards (Saunders); Bowles; Longstaff; Clarke (Whitman 76); Hawkins. Subs (not used): Rogers; Forbes-Swindells.
Referee: Mr. Andrew Park
Man of match: Matt Bowles