It never rains, but it pours!!
Rainworth’s woes continued today with yet another single goal defeat, in a season that is quickly having that ‘if only’ feel to it.
The fact that the match at Gresley FC was played at all, was a minor miracle, with the weather and pitch conditions far from ideal. Rainworth’s starting line-up from that at the start of the year was much changed with three key players having left the club and two others being unavailable. This and the fact that it was only their second match, in a weather interrupted month, contributed to a disjointed display against tough opposition.
Gresley won the toss and decided to kick against the wind and slope, a decision that was to prove crucial in a game where both sides would tire late on in very heavy conditions. Although playing against the elements Gresley had the better of the early exchanges and on the break Robert Spencer’s shot was gratefully deflected for a corner.
Rainworth’s first chance fell to Ashley Longstaff in the 13th minute, but instead of shooting he chose to pass and the opportunity was lost. This was quickly followed by a dipping free-kick from Scott Rickards that was tipped over the bar.
As both sides struggled to keep their feet, a moment to remember, as referee Phillip Hardisty fell head over heels as he too found the conditions treacherous. Shortly afterwards Scott Roger’s shot on the volley just cleared the crossbar, whilst Jamie Clarke’s free-kick was easily gathered by Mats Morch.
Just before the interval Matt Varley received a yellow card for a mistimed challenge and John Guy’s subsequent free-kick was tipped over by James Martin. That was to be the final act of a half in which Gresley would be the more satisfied having kept a clean sheet against the elements.
Gresley got the second half under way, but lost the ball and Longstaff on the break hit his shot just over the bar. It didn’t however take them long to threaten the Rainworth goal when Kieran O’Connell‘s shot flashed just the wrong side of the upright.
The game was still pretty even at this point, when Scott Rickards became the second Rainworth player to be shown a yellow card. The next chance fell to Rainworth when Mark Dudley’s fee-kick just flashed past the upright with the keeper struggling to cover.
The conditions were now beginning to tell as Gresley started to gain the upper hand and in the 67th minute move of the match a cross to the edge of the area was headed into the danger area by Jamie Barrett and Spencer placed his header wide of Martin.
Pressure now mounted as O’Connell missed a glorious opportunity when through on goal, shooting weakly straight at Martin. However Martin did brilliantly just afterwards to tip Guy’s goal bound shot over the bar and he was at it again tipping over Jack Langston’s shot from outside the area.
The final chance of the match fell to Rainworth when Varley’s long throw found Tristram Whitman and although his goal bound shot beat the keeper it was somehow deflected for a corner by a defender’s outstretched leg.
The final whistle went with Gresley winning by the only goal of the match, in truth Rainworth must quickly regain their scoring touch if they are to have any chance of being victorious in close fought games like this.
RAINWORTH: Martin; Rickards; Dudley; Lloyd; Edridge; Varley; Bowles; Rogers; Longstaff; J. Clarke (Forbes-Swindells); Hawkins (Whitman). Subs (not used): Williams; M. Clarke.
Referee: Philip Hardisty
Man of Match: Mark Dudley