Rainworth MW suffered 11 minutes to forget as they leaked four quick goals in a 4-1 defeat at Kidsgrove Athletic in a game in which a win or a draw would have secured Rainworth’s Evo-Stik League status.
It was Kidsgrove who had the better of the early exchanges, playing with a strong breeze at their backs, yet it was Rainworth who had the first chance, but Callum Lloyd hit his shot well wide.
Former Mansfield Town player Wayne Corden then threatened for Kidsgrove only to be thwarted by an excellent Jason Gregory tackle.
Kidsgrove were fighting for their very survival and they nearly capitalised when a cross was only just cleared by Regan Edridge at the expense of a corner.
Scott Edwards was the next to threaten the Rainworth goal, but his shot failed to trouble James Martin.
Then a comedic moment almost gifted Kidsgrove a goal as Jobe Shaw’s misdirected clearance was tipped around the upright by Martin’s outstanding save. From the resultant corner Matt Haddrell powered his header just over the crossbar.
Rainworth were having their odd moment but, in truth, their finishing wasn’t matching their neat approach work.
As for Kidsgrove, Corden was creating chances, but his finishing too was not up to the required standard.
Then in the 31st minute Rainworth almost opened the scoring when a Kieran Coupe through ball was brought under control by Scott Rickards and his fierce shot hit on the turn was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Daniel Read.
Immediately afterwards, a fine Edridge, Rickards move found Ashley Longstaff, but he shot straight at the keeper.
A fierce shot by Corden in the 35th minute was brilliantly saved Martin as Kidsgrove continued to search for the all-important goal.
The half ended with neither side able to add the all-important finish, although Rainworth came closest in a half in which Kidsgrove had more of the play.
Rainworth started the second half pushing forward, but Rickards free kick was headed goalwards by Edridge, but Read easily gathered.
Then in the 57th minute it all changed, as Rainworth inexplicably had an 11 minute period to forget.
It started with a poor pass being intercepted. Corden broke through on goal and, as Martin advanced, he slipped it into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
From the kick-off Rainworth were finding Kidsgrove players with great regularity and it seemed only a matter of time before they increased their lead.
It didn’t take long as another Rainworth error saw Aiden Matranga’s effort cleared off the line, but Shane Reaney put the rebound into the net.
Two minutes later Rainworth gifted a third as another piece of abysmal defending saw Jordan Johnson add the third from close range.
With three goals conceded in four minutes Rainworth must have thought it couldn’t get any worse.
However, in the 68th minute it did. An innocuous ball into the area took a wicked bounce, struck Mark Dudley on the arm, and the referee awarded a penalty.
Haddrell stepped up and easily scored the spot kick, sending Martin the wrong way, to bring the total to four in the space of 11 minutes when everything that could go wrong went wrong for Rainworth.
Rainworth brought on Daniel Williams for Coupe and this had an immediate effect with Williams giving the attack an injection of pace.
In the 85th minute he almost scored, only for Read to brilliantly tip the ball round at the expense of a corner.
It was all Rainworth now and, as Lloyd battled to win the ball, he set up Gregory who made no mistake with his firm shot into the corner.
Matt Clarke then made his long awaited debut for Gregory some five years since he last played.
With several near misses, the last chance of the game fell to Jack Hawkins, but his goal-bound shot was again brilliantly tipped round by Read.
On the final whistle Kidsgrove had earned three points in their fight to avoid relegation in an 11-minute period when the only players receiving passes from either side appeared to be Kidsgrove.
Whilst it would take both bottom clubs to win all but one and draw the other of their remaining games for Rainworth to be relegated, the door has been left open.
On this showing it is hard to see were Rainworth will get their next points from.
RAINWORTH MW: Martin, Gregory (M. Clarke), Dudley, Lloyd, Shaw, Edridge, Coupe (Williams), Magee; Longstaff, Hawkins, Rickards. Sub not used: Rogers.
REFEREE: Simon Mather.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Callum Lloyd.