Rainworth MW keeper James Martin’s bizarre 47th-minute goal was enough to give the Wrens a much needed 1-0 victory against lowly Bedworth United at Kirklington Road on Saturday.
Martin launched a long clearance upfield which bounced high in front of his opposite number Andrew Kemp, who got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out.
The goal turned the game Rainworth’s way after a fairly even first half in which the Wrens were guilty of giving away too many free kicks.
It was an unwise thing to do with Duncan Carrratt back in the middle after he sent off Adam Murray on his last visit, and really three yellow cards picked up in the first half could have been four or five as tackles were too often mistimed.
First to go into the book was Jack Hawkins very early on for a scything challenge on Greg Webb.
Jason Gregory’s head was a whisker away from connecting with Mark Dudley’s cross in the seventh minute, but it was not until the 16th that we saw a serious effort on goal. It came from United’s Josh O’Grady, but Martin pulled off a brilliant reaction save.
Two minutes later Jamie Clarke fizzed a low 25-yard drive narrowly wide, then Jordan Ball pulled his shot across goal after Hawkins’ enterprising spadework.
Matt Varley was controversially booked when he tried to clear the ball which struck a grounded Bedworth player, the referee ruling it as unsporting play.
O’Grady and Shannon Grant got in each other’s way for the Greenbacks as they both went up for Bradley Munn’s far post cross, and just before half time player-manager Scott Rickards found himself in the referee’s notebook for a late challenge.
Bedworth had looked marginally the sharper in the first half, but the Wrens’ defence was well on top of the job, with Sam Saunders in imposing mood.
The few fans who braved the appalling weather were hardly back in their places after half-time when Martin’s unexpected goal gave the Wrens the lead.
But it had the effect of injecting a fresh lease of life into the home side, and three minutes later, following Ball’s run and cross, Clarke miscued wide from close in.
Ball brought a competent parry out of Kemp and couldn’t capitalise on the rebound, and then when he laid off to Hawkins, the youngster’s curling 25-yard shot was just too high.
Rainworth were now playing some delightful stuff, but they were almost caught out when Munn’s 30-yard free kick bounced behind off the top of Martin’s crossbar.
Kemp, though, continued to have to work hard for his corn, and, after superbly turning away Clarke’s 18-yard howitzer. Then Jamie Brown, on for Hawkins, surged along the left before slipping the ball to Clarke, who brought another top drawer save from Kemp.
Just to rub salt into the wound, the keeper made it a double whammy against the Wrens’ front man with yet another stop.
He then flung himself to his right to turn away Mark Dudley’s well struck free kick.
Saunders picked up a yellow card in the 86th minute for a foul as Bedworth began to push on and try to save the game.
And, in the third and final minute of added time, they almost did so, when Grant unleashed a vicious angled effort, only for Martin to match his opposite number’s acrobatics with a diving save low at his near post.
RAINWORTH: Martin, Gregory, Dudley, Lloyd, Varley, Saunders, Hanson, Rickards, Ball (Walker 88), Clarke (Flint 90+3), Hawkins (Brown 65). Subs not used: Magee, Cullingworth.
BEDWORTH: Kemp, Webb, Branch, Robinson, Hutchcox, Forde, Steane (Hurren 79), Craven, Grant, Munn, O’Grady (Hylton 82). Subs not used: Thompson, Sambrook.
REFEREE: Duncan Carratt of Rotherham.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Sam Saunders.