Rainworth Given a Footballing Lesson!!
For the past four seasons Rainworth have been Leek’s bogey side, only losing once in seven encounters and never at home, today Leek released all their pent-up frustrations and gave Rainworth a footballing lesson, winning 5-0.
Rainworth continued with their youth policy, with Jason Gregory, returning from injury, being the only change from the side that won 1-0 at Bedworth in midweek. However from the kick-off it soon became apparent that Leek were on a mission as Rainworth were put on the back foot.
With Leek dominating both territory and possession, Rainworth conceded a corner in the 9th minute and from it Niall Maguire hit an unstoppable volley to open the scoring. Rainworth continued to struggle to get into the game and although they created the odd half-chance, only a last ditch tackle by Sam Saunders prevented John Johnston from extending the lead.
Leek were playing like a team fighting for the automatic promotion spot and on this performance it will take a very good side to stop them. Rainworth’s cause wasn’t helped when in form Regan Edridge went off injured in the 23rd minute and there was no rest bite from the persistent wave of Leek attacks.
In the 28th minute Rainworth lost the ball in their half and John Johnston hit an absolute peach of a cross, fortunately for Rainworth no Leek player could apply the finishing touch. In the 33rd minute Johnston had the ball in the net but it was rightly disallowed for offside.
The reprieve lasted a minute as Tim Grice latched onto a through ball chipped it over the advancing James Martin and it was coolly headed home by Johnston. Rainworth’s Sam Saunders was shown a yellow card for a mistimed tackle in the build up to the goal.
It almost got worse for Rainworth when a couple of defensive errors saw Grice again through on goal, but Martin made two excellent saves to prevent further scores. Rainworth did threaten the Leek goal with a couple of sorties, but Jack Hawkins free-kick was well over.
Any thoughts Rainworth had of getting through to half-time and regrouping without any further reversals, were dashed in a two minute period. Leek once again sliced through the Rainworth defence and Jordan Johnson finished with aplomb, this was followed by a piece of magic from Dan Shelley as he flicked the ball over Saunders and smashed the ball into the net.
Thankfully the referee blew for half-time as a shell shocked Rainworth wondered what had hit them in a half totally dominated by a very good Leek Town side.
The second half continued as the first had ended with Leek looking to add to their four goals, but Ryan Dicker’s weak header was easily saved by Martin. Rainworth continued to make errors at the back and a weak back header intercepted by Johnston was only thwarted by a great save by Martin.
In the 71st minute an injured Jason Gregory was replaced by Dan Williams for his home debut and shortly afterwards a Hawkins cross was just headed over by Saunders. This however just spurred Leek on and a great ball from Matt Bell found Andrew Kinsey who picked his spot from the edge of the area to fire home their fifth goal.
That was the final goal of the game and a relieved Rainworth were grateful to hear the referee’s whistle for the end of the match. This had been one of the few matches that Rainworth had been so comprehensively outplayed and they can have no complaints.
Rainworth: Martin; Gregory (Williams71); Dudley; Lloyd; Shaw; Saunders; Edridge (Coupe 23); Magee; Longstaff; Hawkins; Whitman. Subs (not used): Rogers; Rickards; M. Clarke.
Referee: Paul Vardy
Man of match: Jack Hawkins