RAINWORTH started the New Year with a comfortable 2-0 win over local rivals Carlton Town.
The visit of the Millers provided the opportunity for Rainworth to atone for Saturday’s match at Brigg Town, where they managed to lose a game they should have won.
There was one change from the Brigg game - Danny Bacon was unavailable because of a family bereavement, which meant a long-awaited debut for experienced defender Dan White.
The match was a typical derby game with both sides showing early nerves and, although there was plenty of effort, the skill levels of both sides suffered because of it.
In the early exchanges Carlton came closest to scoring from a long Matt Varley throw with Corey Nightingale heading just over the bar.
The first real chance fell to Carlton in the 20th minute when Matt Ball’s free kick was well defended by White.
In the 24th minute an Adam Kimberley, Jared Holmes and Ryan Goward move almost brought a goal which was dealt with at the expense of a corner.
This was followed by a Jared Holmes-Goward-Ashley Kitchen in the 30th minute when all that was lacking to the cross was the final touch.
While the play of both sides never flowed it was Rainworth who were creating the better of the chances.
The 32nd minute was to provide the breakthrough as Higginson’s shot was blocked by keeper Martin Kearney and the rebound fell to Ian Holmes, who duly put the ball in the back of the net.
Although neither side had controlled the half the better chances had been created by Rainworth and they just about deserved the lead. There was only one more incident of note and that was in the 42nd minute when Martin Ball was booked for a foul on Higginson.
The second half continued much as the first half had ended with both defences having the upper hand. In the 54th minute a long Kieran Walker throw was headed back to him and his cross was met by Higginson as the Carlton defence hesitated and his finish hit the back of the net.
At 2-0 the game looked all but over, although in the 56th minute a Martin Ball goal bound shot was deflected for a corner by impressive debutant White.
Then in the 60th minute a Ruben Wiggins-Thomas shot was also blocked by White, who seemed to be everywhere in the Rainworth defence.
Rainworth had not given up hope of adding to their score and in the 63rd minute Higginson from an acute angle hit a ferocious shot that Kearney did well to tip over. The game was now becoming stretched and in the 65th Ball just failed to get on the end of a Wiggins-Thomas cross for the Millers.
Then in the 69th minute came the save of the match when Kearney somehow kept out Jared Holmes’ spectacular bicycle kick that seemed destined for the top corner. Rainworth were having the majority of the chances and in the 70th minute Varley was booked for a foul on Higginson.
Carlton brought on Dean Gent for Jordan Vilums and he took little time in finding himself booked for fouling Kitchen. With the Rainworth defence looking heart-warmingly solid with the inclusion of White, Carlton were becoming increasingly desperate as they vainly chased the goal to get them back into the match.
There was just time for Justin Jenkins to replace Kimberley, but there were no further additions to the score line and Rainworth deservedly took the spoils. While Carlton seemed to be suffering from the recent changes in personnel, Rainworth seemed to have found a star in White.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini; Walker; Goward; Camm; Kitchen; White; I. Holmes; Hanson; Higginson; J. Holmes; Kimberly (Jenkins 87); Subs not used: Burton; Nshindano.
CARLTON TOWN: Kearney; Dakin; Nightingale; Marsden; Varley; Hall; Thornton; Ball; Vilums (Gent 71); Wiggins-Thomas; Smithson; Subs not used: Tyler; Whitehurst.
REFEREE: Steven Meredith (Mansfield).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Dan White