Depleted Rainworth MW were sunk by two goals in as many minutes as the Wrens lost 2-0 at home to Norton United in the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South last night.
Rainworth are down to the bare bones and had only one available striker.
The game was played in the right spirit and decided by a two minute period in the second half when Norton scored their two goals, one with a huge slice of luck and the other well deserved.
Rainworth kicked off with the wind at their backs, but it was Norton who dominated the early exchanges.
In the fourth minute, from a long throw, Rainworth only managed to clear the ball to the edge of the area, but Niall Green’s follow-up was always going wide.
They almost took the lead when Lee Cropper’s well-struck shot was tipped over by Jake Turner, with six minutes on the clock.
Turner was in action a few minutes later when he brilliantly saved Glyn Blackhurst’s headed effort from a corner.
A minute later he pulled off an even better save from Jonathan Sheldon’s free kick that was hit with some venom.
Norton continued to threaten the Rainworth goal and in the 23rd minute Blackhurst’s header was just wide from a corner.
Rainworth’s first effort on goal came in the 26th minute. As the ball was cleared from a corner it fell to Craig Mitchell, but his shot just flashed by the upright.
They went closer in the 29th minute when, from Dean Freeman’s long throw, Dan White’s header was just wide of the upright.
Rainworth were using the wind well and Gino Kelleher ran across the edge of the area, but his shot flew wide.
A couple of minutes later Alex Kenlock’s effort lacked power and was easily gathered by Chris Fletcher in the Norton goal.
There was still time for Cropper to create a chance, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
The final two efforts of the half fell to Mitchell, but both went wide of the target and the score remained goalless.
As expected Norton were soon on the attack at the start of the second half with a strengthening wind at their backs, but Rainworth were coping well.
Then in the 52nd minute a huge piece of misfortune hit Wrens as Turner’s low clearance struck White on the edge of the area and ricocheted to the unmarked Leigh Skellern, who made no mistake to give Turner no chance and open the scoring for Norton.
Had the ball hit a Norton player instead he would been offside by a country mile, but such is Rainworth’s luck at the moment it didn’t.
If the first goal owed a lot to ‘Lady Luck’, the second a couple of minutes later was well worked and finished. From a counter attack down the right, the ball was crossed to the unmarked Cropper and he made no mistake with a clinical finish.
When White had to be replaced by Mark Camm because of injury, the home fans must have feared the worse, but Rainworth probably had the better of the later exchanges without being able to find the finishing touch.
Mitchell came nearest in the final minute of the game, when after a good build-up his shot just cleared the bar.
While Rainworth will rue their misfortune, they must quickly rediscover the ability to convert chances into goals, if they are to have any chance of obtaining the necessary points for survival.
Norton are a good side and deserved their victory against a Rainworth side who never gave up trying.
RAINWORTH: Turner, Hannigan, T.Brown, Freeman, White (Camm), Kelleher, Richards (Brock), Nwadike, Ofushine, Kenlock, Mitchell. Sub not used: Robinson.
REFEREE: Alan Hull.
WRENS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Jake Turner.