A much improved performance; but still the goals elude the Wrens; as their quest for points was thwarted by John Johnston.
The first five minutes were closely fought and it wasn’t until the 5th minute that the first corner was won by Kidsgrove.
From the corner a Dan Skelton pile-driver was well saved by Alessandro Barcherini; however it wouldn’t have counted as the linesman was already flagging for offside. A minute later it was Rainworth who were threatening the Kidsgrove goal as Kieran Wells cross was just put out for a corner; before Ryan Goward could add the scoring touch. This was quickly followed by a good run by Conor Higginson but his shot went well over the bar.
It wasn’t all Rainworth and John Johnston gave them a preview of what was to come as his mazy runs were beginning to stretch their defence. The 14th minute saw another fine Danny Bacon ball just too high for Well’s head. Once again Kidsgrove counter attacked and Alan Nagington’s shot just cleared the crossbar. Another good Kidsgrove move was only thwarted when the ball had a fortuitous ricochet into Barcherini’s arms.
The game continued to be end to end and Callum Lloyds through ball was just clipped over by Wells; it seemed it would be only a matter of time before a goal was scored; but which side achieved that feat was still in doubt. In the 27th minute it was so nearly Rainworth as Jared Holmes played in Wells with an astute pass, and only a brilliant fingertips save denied the striker. The breakthrough came in the 34th minute when Kidsgrove’s Johnston left a couple of defenders in his wake as he drove into the area and somehow managed to score at the near post from an acute angle.
The game was still end to end and it was only a last ditch tackle by Goward that denied Kidsgrove a second as Skelton set up Karl Espley. Rainworth once again threatened the Kidsgrove goal as Wells and Higginson combined only for the latter’s shot to be well saved by the keeper. Chances were still being created at either end and after a pretty even first half it was only Jonston’s brilliance that was separating the sides.
The second half was to be the John Johnston show as he took the game by the scruff of the neck. In the 50th minute he took the ball past three defenders only to shoot wide and four minutes later he was involved in the build-up to Kidsgrove’s second goal. Picking the ball up on the left he once again made space and his pass found Espley unmarked in the area and his neat flick found the back of the net. Still Rainworth tried to get back into the game but their attacks were breaking down and in truth never looked like breeching the Kidsgrove goal.
In the 59th minute Rainworth’s influential skipper Mark Camm was injured and replaced by Jonathan Williams. Rainworth then took Wells and Higginson off and replaced them with Justin Jenkins and Jermain Hollis; but it was Kidsgrove who started to dominate. The 84th minute with Rainworth tiring saw a fine passing move by Kidsgrove and as the ball entered the penalty area it found Johnston who coolly placed the ball past Barcherini.
That was to be the final score and in a hard fought match no one could deny that Kidsgrove deserved their victory and in John Johnston they had the game’s most influential player. As for Rainworth there was a big improvement from their previous game, but the inability to convert chances is hurting their quest for points.
KIDSGROVE: Read; Smith (Donnelly 10); Dove; Espley; Parkinson: Taylor; Hill (Reaney 83); Skelton (Lowndes 89); Nagington; Street; Johnston. Subs (Not used) Sherratt; Rowley.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini; Hanson; Goward; Camm (Williams 59) ; Walker; Magee; Lloyd; Bacon; Higginson (Jenkins 69); J. Holmes; Wells (Hollis 76)
Referee Mr M. Amphlett.
Man of match: Danny Bacon.