Close Call at Top.
The last time Rainworth played a team topping the table away, they came away victorious, so todays fixture away against table topping Halesowen Town held no trepidations.
The first chance of the match fell to Halesowen, when from a long throw the ball fell for Ben Haseley but he was unable to take advantage. Rainworth then had a chance in the 6th minute when from Jack Hawkins cross, Nathan Forbes-Swindells was unable to direct it on goal.
Rainworth continued to threaten with their passing game and from a corner in the 16th minute only Samuel Pearson’s intervention prevented Matt Varley getting his head to the ball. From the resulting corner Ashley Longstaff’s shot was saved at full stretch by Pearson.
During this period Rainworth were having the better of the exchanges and the side going forward ,in the 21st minute Hawkins almost scored when from 35 yards the ball cleared a stranded Pearson and the post. Then a moment to forget for James Martin as from a long throw Joe Hull’s header slipped through his grasp and into the net for the opening goal against the run of play. In defence of Martin he is having an outstanding season and this was totally out of character.
Rainworth continued to push for the equaliser and Pearson just won the race as Ashley Longstaff bore down on goal. Halesowen were starting to get into the game and Iyseden Christie had a great chance only to see his effort go wide.
The final chance of the half was when Damien Magee’s pass found Nathan Forbes-Swindells and only a wonder save from Pearson prevented Rainworth getting the equaliser. The half-time whistle went with Halesowen leading 1-0 and Rainworth wondering how they were behind.
The second saw Rainworth once again on the front foot and in the 52nd minute Forbes-Swindells cross was put just past the upright by Regan Edridge. Shortly after a moment of controversy as Haseley catches Martin late, the referee however deemed a free-kick sufficient.
If Martin was at fault for the goal in the 55th minute he earned his redemption as Ross Clarke’s pile-driver looked a goal all the way until he pulled off a world class save. This was quickly followed by another fine save from Christie.
This saw a period of Halesowen pressure but the Rainworth defence were more than up for the task. Rainworth substituted Jamie Clarke for Forbes-Swindells and a few minutes later he had the ball in the net only to be flagged for offside.
The game began to drift as Rainworth failed to make inroads into the Halesowen penalty area, whilst the host’s took every opportunity to eat up the time. The last chance of the game fell to Rainworth and from yet another good move, Edridge’s cross cum shot almost embarrassed Pearson as it cleared both him and the crossbar in quick succession.
On the final whistle Rainworth must rue their one costly lapse that gifted Halesowen all three points in a closely fought encounter. Whilst it would be wrong to suggest that they deserved all three points they certainly deserved a share of the spoils, for their overall performance on the day.
RAINWORTH: Martin; Varley; Rickards; Lloyd; Walker; Saunders; Edridge; Magee; Longstaff; Forbes-Swindells (Clarke 72); Hawkins. Subs (not used) Rogers; Williams.
Referee: Ian Smedley
Man of Match: Kieran Walker