Wells' double ends Wrens' season on a high
TWO goals by man of the match Kieran Wells earned Rainworth maximum points against Gresley, and saw the Wrens end their season unbeaten in five matches, in 14th place, and with their 50-point target surpassed.
Wells struck a goal in each half either side of Richard Hanslow’s equaliser for the Moatmen, but it was a game which probably should have seen more goals scored, for from the 12th minute on neither side had a recognised goalkeeper between the posts.
The football had something of an end of season feel to it in the early stages, but there was no lack of incident, primarily, though, of the unwanted sort, with Gresley keeper Gary Hateley unable to continue beyond the 12th minute after suffering a leg injury, and substitute Kristian Cox, who came on when Hateley was withdrawn, incurring a nasty gash to his head around 10 minutes from time and needing to be stretchered off and an ambulance called.
Rainworth had no established keeper available at all, so striker Adam Somes donned the Wrens’ jersey, and Hateley’s injury, regrettable though it was, served in practical terms to even things up.
Hateley was struggling as early as the sixth minute and needed a two-minute stoppage for treatment before resuming, but it quickly became clear that he was unable to go on, and defender Mark Strzyzewski went in goal.
The first real chance of the match did not manifest itself until the 16th minute, when Wells' driven cross from the right found Ryan Goward at the far post, but he finished disappointingly wide.
Rainworth were enjoying the better of the first half, and made it count on the half-hour. Damian Magee crossed from the left and in a busy area Wells applied the finish.
Somes’ goalkeeping prowess was tested just seconds later when he saved and kept hold of Jordan Nadat’s clever flicked header.
Both Wells and Kieran Watson saw shots blocked in a melee in the Gresley goalmouth as Rainworth looked to double their lead, but Gresley were far from out of it, and Nadat was denied a shot at goal by Magee’s excellently timed challenge.
However, it was Strzyzewski who had the last word of the first half, tipping Goward’s 30-yard rising drive over his bar in fine style.
Two minutes into the restart Gareth Langford tried his luck from similar distance for Gresley but, spotting Somes too far off his line, he was unlucky to see his lob come back off the bar.
Gresley were establishing the upper hand after the interval, and Somes did very well to save ahead of Hanslow in a one-on-one in the 55th minute.
However, Hanslow had better luck six minutes later when a through ball pierced the home defence and left the striker with a fairly easy chance.
As Rainworth strove to assert themselves again Strzyzewski distinguished himself with a fine save of Wells’ shot, but it was Gresley sensing a winner, and Nadat hooked wide after shrugging off the challenge of Mark Camm.
An apparent clash of heads in the 77th minute saw the unlucky Cox laid out, necessitating a long delay. An announcement for a doctor drew no response, but Cox was ultimately stretchered off.
The delay and the aftermath seemed to upset Gresley’s rhythm, and when they failed to clear an 87th-minute corner Kieran Walker floated the ball back to the far post where Wells had a simple task to nod in the winner.
Eight added minutes kept hearts in mouths, with Nadat’s fierce cross shot going through the six yard box without a touch, and then he failed to manage a touch onto Dean Rathbone’s assist when well placed.
So Rainworth went out on a high, and with recent developments already fuelling expectations for next season, for many Wrens fans 2013-14 cannot start early enough.
RAINWORTH: Somes, Hanson, Magee, Camm, Kitchen, Watson (K. Walker 64), Lloyd, Bacon, Wells, J. Holmes (Bennett 82), Goward (Claxton 61).
GRESLEY: Hateley (Cox 12, Butler 82), R. Walker, Gough, Strzyzewski, Nottingham, Langford, Minshull, Rathbone, Hanslow (Turville 74), Nadat, Goodfellow.
REFEREE: Andy Newbold of Leicester.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Kieran Wells.