A last gasp goal from debut-making Joe Cheeseman saw visiting Rainworth MW end Maltby Main’s unbeaten league run of nine games with a 1-0 win on Saturday.
Maltby, who ended the game with 10 men, had the better of the early exchanges on a dry and uneven pitch that made passing and shooting a lottery.
Rainworth came back into the game and, as it flowed from end to end, won it with the last kick of the game.
Maltby were the first to threaten, but their long range effort was well over.
Ben Townsend’s excellent save in the 10th minute prevented a goal and that pattern continued as Rainworth struggled to come to grips with the pitch.
It was all Maltby, but in the 18th minute Liam Morris’s effort was cleared off the line in what had been Rainworth’s first meaningful effort on goal of the half.
The remainder of the half saw both goals threatened but neither side were able to keep the ball down and the nearest either side came was when Cheeseman, on his debut, hit the crossbar with the keeper struggling.
The second half started much as the first half ended with both sides battling for control.
The game changed in the 54th minute when a two-footed challenge on Matthew Thompson left him needing treatment and the referee no alternative but to show the offender a red card.
Three minutes later and Rainworth almost capitalised when the keeper did well to punch out Liam Nelthorpe’s free-kick.
Minutes later and it was Nelthorpe again but this time his long range effort just went the wrong side of the upright.
The 63rd minute saw the first substitution of the match when Rainworth brought on debutant Ashley Bartle for Bradley Wilson.
Maltby continued to have opportunities, but it was Rainworth who came the nearest to scoring in a game that continued to be end to end.
On 72 minutes Rainworth brought on Declan Brewin for Liam Theakstone, but it was Maltby who went close.
Matt Sykes was only inches from opening the scoring for Rainworth when his thunderbolt beat everyone and the crossbar when well placed.
Rainworth made their final substitution bringing on another debutant Ryan Chapman for Jordan Edridge in the 81st minute.
Rainworth continued to press and in close succession Brewin’s effort was deflected for a corner and a Sykes effort was brilliantly saved on the goal line by the keeper.
Maltby went straight down the other end and Rainworth were fortunate when the inside of the post prevented a goal and the ball was subsequently cleared.
It was then Rainworth’s turn and Brewin was denied by the keeper’s legs.
The goal eventually came in injury time when Rainworth were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area.
Nelthorpe’s effort was too powerful for the keeper, who did well to get to it, and Cheeseman followed up and hit the rebound into the roof of the net.
That was to be the final act of a game in which, after the initial Maltby dominance, the outcome was always in doubt.
RAINWORTH MW: Townsend; Hanson; Wilson (Bartle); Nelthorpe; Plant; Cheeseman; Thompson; J. Edridge (Chapman); Morris; Theakstone (Brewin); Sykes. Sub not used: C. Widdowson.
REFEREE: Neil Guest.
WRENS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Joe Cheeseman.