Wrens on relegation rollercoaster

Rainworth Miners' Welfare FC manager Julian Watts.
Rainworth Miners' Welfare FC manager Julian Watts.

In-form Maltby Main denied Rainworth Miners’ Welfare a precious win in their relegation dog fight with two late goals.

The 2-2 draw left the Wrens 18th in the North Counties East League Premier Division, two places and 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

In the seventh minute Rainworth were indebted to keeper Ben Townsend’s quick reactions when he blocked Sam Forster’s effort.

Within 60 seconds Town-send’s opposite number, Danny Rusling, had blocked Declan Brewin’s effort at the expense of a corner.

A minute later Rainworth opened the scoring as Brewin’s cross was driven into the bottom corner by James Munson.

On 15 minutes the visitors’ Josh Nodder was allowed time and space in the area, but fortunately for Rainworth Townsend saved his goal-bound effort.

There was nearly a disaster for Welfare when Rob Ludlam’s innocuous back pass took a bobble and Townsend over-ran it. The keeper 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 put the rebound over.

Rainworth made it 2-0 six minutes before half-time 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.

Home keeper Townsend denied Maltby two minutes into the second half with a wonder save that pushed away Danny Patterson’s free-kick from the top corner. Six minutes later the keeper brilliantly denied Josh Nodder.

Rainworth were limited to counter-attacks, but in the 59th minute were unlucky when Brewin’s run and shot was blocked. Two minutes later Rusling denied Harris and Munson’s follow-up was tipped around the post.

A triple save by the Maltby keeper in the 71st minute thwarted Sykes, Harris and Poole. Sykes twice more went close to securing victory.

Maltby, who carried a threat all game from Darkin’s long-throws, pulled one back when Nodder helped a throw into the net in the 87th minute.

That was the signal for a sustained push from the visitors and two minutes later Richard Adams converted another long throw to snatch a point.