Rainworth Miners’ Welfare’s last game in the Northern Counties East League ended in a 3-2 defeat at Thackley, despite a battling performance by their makeshift side.
Serious injuries and a season extension that clashed with pre-booked holidays meant only 12 players were available for the game.
One of the players missing was keeper and club captain Ben Townsend, who suffered a cruciate injury in February.
His replacement, Andy Francis, was ruled out by ligament damage meaning Max Pemberton, who had scored twice in a League Cup win the previous Monday, volunteered to go in goal.
Liam Royles and Alex Nightingale were both pressed into returns from injury sooner than the club wanted.
After early Pemberton saves, Rainworth took the lead when Charlie Dawes’s fine run saw the ball pulled back to Gareth Curtis to score into the corner.
The game was turned on its head straight from the second-half kick-off, when in eight crazy minutes Thackley had the ball in the net three times through Luke Robinson’s speculative effort from distance, Matt Broadley’s shot-cum-cross and Mike Garrod’s free-kick.
Rainworth didn’t give up and pulled one back through Matt Sykes after good work by Gareth Curtis.
’s path and he made no mistake to reduce the arrears to just one goal.
There was one last chance for Rainworth in the final minute, but Sykes’s free-kick was gathered on the line by Wilson.
At the final whistle Rainworth’s small band of travelling fans applauded their make-shift team off the field for a performance that nearly produced the victory they craved.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Pemberton; Royles; Jones; Goodwin; Ludlam; Adams; Curtis; Poole (Nightingale); Modest; Sykes; Dawes.
Referee; J. Rhodes