Work in Progress
Rainworth MWFC started the season with a brand-new squad, a mix of experience and youth, in the East Midlands Counties League and from the start they have had to battle adversity.
The opening two league games saw them give creditable performances even when reduced to ten men for well over half of both games, then they excelled in the FA Cup, winning against a team from a Step higher in the pyramid.
Today away at Ashby Ivanhoe they were beaten 2-0, by the better team on the day, albeit with a squad down to the bare-bones, missing key players, due to suspensions, injury and holidays.
Whilst always second-best in the opening half, they edged the second without in truth seriously troubling their opponents’ goal. Naïve at times, yet full of effort and commitment, would be the perfect description for what is a ‘work in progress’. It would be easy to be critical at this stage in their development, however time will be their friend, then we will see the real Rainworth MWFC.
Today at the NFU Sports Ground Ashby were quick out of the blocks making the most of the strong breeze at their backs and Rainworth were soon under pressure.
As early as the 5th minute Andy Francis had to tip Sam Carline’s free-kick over for a corner. The play was nearly all in Rainworth’s half and their failure to close-down their opponents was giving cause for concern.
Ashby made them pay in the 17th minute when they failed to cut out a cross, the ball found Kerr Horn who gave Francis no chance stabbing the ball into the far corner.
There was a brief repost from Rainworth but Ashley Jones’s effort from distance was well wide of the target.
Rainworth were hanging in but the tricky Elliott Bott was causing them problems and a second goal looked inevitable in a half dominated by Ashby.
It came in the 42nd minute and it was a goal worthy of winning any match as an excellent inter-passing move ended with Harry Stewart putting his effort into the corner of the net. Shortly afterwards the referee blew for half-time much to the relief of an over-run Rainworth side.
The second half was totally different from the first with Rainworth starting to show glimpses of what they were capable of and were unlucky in the 50th minute. Jacob Webster’s excellent through ball found the run of Blessing Adeleye who took the ball around the advancing Nik Ivanov, but unfortunately, he was forced too wide and his effort hit the side netting.
Rainworth were forced into a substitution in the 56th minute when the injured Tom Gledhill was replaced by debutant Joe Sockett. Sockett made an immediate impact when Ashby were thankful to Ivanov who just reached his excellent through ball as Sam Robinson bore down.
A couple of minutes later he just beat Jack Weatherer to a well flighted free-kick as Rainworth continued to have a sustained period of pressure.
Robinson’s lobbed header in the 70th minute was gathered on the line by Ivanov, that was to be his last act of the game as he was substituted by Alfie Gaughan.
It wasn’t all Rainworth and Ashby went close when Chris Sykes ghosted into the six-yard area, but he put his effort over when well placed.
The final effort of the match fell to Liam Jepson but his 90th minute free-kick was gathered on the line by Ivanov.
At the final whistle Ashby had deservedly won 2-0 but Rainworth had made a fight of it in the second half, but they must be more clinical when they create chances if they want to capitalise on their periods of dominance.
Rainworth will be hoping that some of the missing squad are available next week when they take on their Evo-Stik neighbours AFC Mansfield away in the FA Cup.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Francis; R. Labbate; Jepson, Webster; Barnes; Lowe; Jones; Weatherer; Adeleye; Robinson (Gaughan); Gledhill (Sockett).
Subs (not used): Wright; Enger
Man of match: Jack Weatherer