Inconsistent, frustrating, wasteful and generous all words that have been used this season to describe Rainworth MWFC in their quest for the higher reaches of the East Midlands Counties League. After today’s match you can add disciplined and battlers as they took a top four side Dunkirk to the wire and almost came away with the three points. The faithful fans will hope that is the case and with key players due to return from injuries and suspensions in the next few weeks the form that saw a seven-match unbeaten run will return.
Dunkirk had first advantage of the strong swirling wind, but in truth it was sometimes more a hinderance as passes were overhit in a congested half of the pitch. The first sign of just how difficult it was going to be came in the 9th minute when former ‘Wren’ Blair Anderson’s corner took-off like an Exocet missile and beat everyone’s efforts to get near it. If a Dunkirk player had been able to get any sort of touch it most certainly would have been the opening goal. It wasn’t all Dunkirk, but Callum Pursglove’s effort from the edge of the area was straight at a grateful Liam Mitchell in the Dunkirk goal.
However, for most of the half the strong wind made it increasingly more difficult for Rainworth to get any distance at all in their clearances and Dunkirk dominated. Mark Green tested Josh Hollis and Jack Smith’s effort was just over as they searched for that elusive goal. As the half went on it looked as though battling Rainworth would reach half-time without conceding. It wasn’t to be when in the 42nd minute Dunkirk at last came to terms with the conditions, a raid down the left saw James Price find Jordan Alle’s in the penalty area and he gave Hollis no chance as his effort found the corner. The lead was almost doubled two minutes later when Anderson’s long-range effort went agonisingly the wrong side of the upright. Rainworth negotiated the final minutes going in at half-time considering the conditions with an acceptable 1-0 deficit.
The second half was the mirror image of the first, but this time for the most part it was Rainworth who dominated proceedings. In the opening minute Pursglove’s effort was gathered at full-stretch by Mitchell. Dunkirk’s Ellis Evans defied the conditions when his fiercley hit effort was only gathered at the second attempt by Hollis. In the 56th minute Rainworth almost equalised as great work by Declan Brewin and when his cross found Lewis Weaver the fans were readying themselves to celebrate when Mitchell somehow deflected it over for a corner. A minute later and this time it was Weaver returning the compliment to Brewin with Mitchell managing to keep it out with his foot this time.
Rainworth continued to press and almost got the equaliser when Will Spray headed Kieran Coupe’s free kick just over with Mitchell beaten. They then made two substitutions in quick succession replacing Coupe and Kieran Darby with Joe Toon and Blessing Adeleye. It was Dunkirk however who almost scored when Kyle Clarke’s mazy run ended with Anderson blazing the ball over when well placed. The equaliser came in the very next attack when Weaver ran on to an excellent through ball and placed it into the back of the net beyond the advancing Mitchell. A minute later a rare piece of lax defending almost gifted Dunkirk the lead but Green somehow managed to put the ball over when well placed.
The final minutes were edgy and in the last attack Rainworth went close when Brewin’s mazy run ended with him shooting agonisingly wide of the far upright with Mitchell beaten. At the final whistle both sides deserved credit for coping with an unforgiving wind, either side could have won but in the end a draw was a fair result.
RAINWORTH: Hollis; Dawson; Coupe (Toon); Davidson; Spray; Wright; Darby (Adeleye); Cornell; Brewin; Pursglove; Weaver.
Subs (not used): Spencer; Sennett; Smith.
Referee: Mr Tim Walker