So Near, Yet So Far
The score line doesn't do Rainworth justice!
Today Rainworth visited Stafford Rangers whose rapid fall from the top tier of Non-League cumulated with their relegation from the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division at the end of last season. Stafford however are intent on getting back up the non-league ladder as quickly as possible and have started their current campaign in fine form.
For 70 minutes Rainworth more than matched them, in fact they created the better chances, but as they began to tire individual errors were to cost them dear as Stafford capitalised and ran out 3-0 winners.
Joint manager Ian Robinson commented, “For 70 minutes we were more than a match for them, but in the last 20 minutes individual errors cost us and the lads are down as the result in no way reflects the game.”
Stafford are a big physical side, but Rainworth more than matched them and clear cut chances were of a premium.
In the 12th minute Alex Ford headed Matt Jones corner over the bar, in reply Stafford kept pumping the ball into the area at every opportunity, but Matt Millns and the Rainworth defence were up for the fight.
In the 26th minute Stanley Mugisha shot wide from outside the area and a couple of minutes later Tommy Hannigan found his way into the book for a professional foul.
Ryan Wynter tried his luck from outside the area but Liam Roberts easily gathered the attempt.
Rainworth ended the half on the attack as firstly Tristram Whitman’s cross just eluded a Rainworth head and then a couple of minutes later Craig Mitchell set up Whitman , but he couldn’t get the ball out from his feet and he dragged his shot wide.
The whistle brought the half to an end with the 0-0 scoreline reflecting a hard fought game with neither side able to break the deadlock.
In the 48th minute a great run and cross by Theo Brown almost found Ford but Adam Whitehouse dived bravely at his feet.
In the 56th minute Rainworth came even closer as Dean Freeman’s header was somehow saved by Whitehouse’s legs at the expense of a corner. Then again in the 58th minute as Brown put Whitman through on goal, only for Whitehouse to block his goal bound effort.
Just when it looked that Rainworth would get the breakthrough, the lack of a pre-season began to tell as they tired and Stafford started to get on top.
In the 69th minute Grant Ryan replaced Whitman and a couple of minutes later Alton Rennalls was booked for a trip.
Rainworth were starting to misplace passes as tiredness began to take hold and in the 72nd minute they had an escape when Levi Reid’s shot flashed by the upright with Roberts at full stretch.
The reprieve was short lived as in the 73rd minute Roberts could only parry a shot and it fell to Christian Dacres who hit the rebound into the net.
Rainworth were still creating chances and Ford broke and his cross was just cleared for a corner before Ryan could convert the chance.
From the corner the attack broke down and the ball ended up with Roberts in the Rainworth area his attempted pass was blocked by Dan Cope who had the simple task of putting it into an empty net for the second.
Still Rainworth attacked and Ford's goal bound shot was parried and gathered at the second attempt by Whitehouse.
Then disaster in the 81st minute another Roberts blocked clearance was again converted by Cope to give a distorted look to the scoreline.
In the 85th minute Cope almost got a third only for Roberts to make a magnificent save at full stretch.
There was still time for one more Rainworth attack and Ford’s effort was cleared off the line.
The final whistle went and Rainworth were left to reflect on what might have been.
RAINWORTH: Roberts; Hannigan; Andrews (J. Brown); Freeman; Millns; Rennalls; Jones (Haughton); Mitchell; Whitman (Ryan); Ford; T. Brown. Subs (not used): Coupe; Brock.
Referee; Mr. Eddie Smart
Man of match: Craig Mitchell