An Emotional Rollercoaster
Rainworth MWFC deep in a Relegation dogfight entertained Maltby Main one of the form teams of 2017 and fresh off a very creditable draw with Pickering Town.
At the end of the ninety minutes both sets of fans were left wondering why they hadn’t taken all three points instead of the one the 2-2 scoreline had dictated. Into the final five minutes Rainworth had led 2-0 only to concede two late goals.
In truth for the neutral it had been a classic, a game that had just about everything and in Ben Townsend and Dany Rusling, two goalkeepers in excellent form.
Rainworth started the game on the front foot, but failed to create any clear-cut chances in the opening exchanges.
In fact, in the 7th minute Rainworth were indebted to Townsend’s quick reactions when he blocked Sam Forster’s effort as he bore down on goal.
Rainworth went straight down the other end and this time it was Rusling who came to Maltby’s rescue blocking Declan Brewin’s effort at the expense of a corner.
A minute later and Rainworth opened the scoring as Brewin’s cross was driven into the bottom corner by James Munson.
On 15 minutes Josh Nodder was allowed time and space in the area but luckily for Rainworth Townsend was on hand to save his goal-bound effort.
There was nearly a disaster for Rainworth when in the 18th minute Rob Ludlam’s innocuous back pass took a bobble and Townsend over-ran it, luckily, he managed to chase the ball down and hook it clear as it was about to cross the line.
It was Rainworth however who were having the better of the exchanges with Matt Sykes causing problems on the left. They should have increased their lead in the 27th minute when Munson’s goal-bound effort was blocked by Rusling and Matt Harris with goal at his mercy put his effort over.
Rainworth increase their lead in the 39th minute with a candidate for goal of the season. When the ball reached Tomas Poole, after an excellent passage of passing play, he was still 35 yards from goal. His first effort was blocked but his second arrowed into the top corner with Rusling a mere spectator.
Rainworth continued to press and had a strong claim for a penalty when Brewin was brought down in the area, however the referee waved play on and shortly afterwards blew for half-time.
The second half started with Maltby on the front foot and they must have thought they had pulled a goal back in the 47th minute when Danny Patterson’s free-kick looked destined for the top corner. Townsend had other ideas however and pulled off a ‘wonder save’ to somehow push the ball out for a corner.
Six minutes later and he was at it again this time brilliantly saving from Josh Nodder.
Rainworth were being limited to counter-attacks and in the 59th minute were unlucky when Brewin’s run and shot was blocked. Two minutes later Maltby had Rusling to thank as Harris’s effort was blocked and Munson’s follow-up was tipped around the post at full stretch for a corner.
When Sykes was brought down on the edge of the area in the 66th minute, Poole stepped up but his free-kick was just over.
At the other end, Forster’s effort met the same fate.
Maltby were indebted to Rusling in the 71st minute when it seemed Rainworth must score only for him to make a triple save somehow keeping out the efforts of Sykes, Harris and Poole.
The game by now was frenetic and Maltby should have done better when Nicky Darkin’s excellent pass found Ryan Carroll, his cross however was put over by Dean Smith when well-placed.
They went even closer a couple of minutes later when after another excellent move, Shawn Mitchell ran into the area but his effort clipped the top of the crossbar with Townsend beaten.
Rainworth brought on Lewis Parkin in the 76th minute for Munson.
Townsend was tested by Nodder and Carroll in quick succession but was equal to both efforts.
The game should probably have been over in the 81st minute when Sykes broke clear but his shot found the side-netting with two colleagues waiting at the far post for what would have been a tap-in.
It was Sykes again on 87 minutes when this time he was unlucky to see his effort flash inches past the far post with Rusling well-beaten.
Maltby had carried a threat all game from Darkin’s excellent long-throws and in the next attack it came as no surprise when they scored from one as Nodder helped the ball in.
That was the signal for a sustained Maltby push and two minutes later another Darkin long-throw was put in by Richard Adams for the equaliser.
Rainworth brought on William Peat for Ryan Herbert but shortly afterwards the referee blew for full time.
At the end, there was nothing between the sides just as it was in October at Muglet Lane when then it was Rainworth who came back from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 draw. Whilst Maltby are certain of Premiership football next season, Rainworth’s fight continues, but on this showing they have proved to their fans that they are up for the fight.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Mansell; Claxton; Herbert (Peat); Griffin; Ludlam; Brewin; Poole; Munson (Parkin); Harris; Sykes. Sub (not used); Watts
Referee: Mr Kevin Saundby
Man of match: Ben Townsend