RAINWORTH reflected happily on four trend-bucking days after Monday night’s 3-2 victory at Romulus catapulted them up to seventh place, albeit probably only for 24 hours.
It was the Wrens’ first back-to-back success of the season, overturning their previous away league form which had, until then, brought them no points and only one goal.
But the travelling supporters were left with hearts in mouths at the end as, having led 3-1 against 10 men, they allowed the Roms back into the contest and looked likely to blow it.
The furious home side pointed the finger at Leamington referee Mike Bingham as responsible for their defeat. Mr Bingham, who has a reputation as a hard-line disciplinarian, sent off Roms’ Rob Evans in the 73rd minute for an elbow on Mark Camm, and then red-carded the already booked Ryan Goward for handling in the box late on, Dexter Ravenhall slotting the ensuing spot kick to make it a nervous ending for the visitors.
But the Roms were adamant that Wrens keeper Joe McCormack should also have walked when he saw yellow for handling outside the area in the 57th minute, insisting that it should have been his second yellow having been guilty of the same offence in the first half. That, though, would have been harsh, for it was purely his momentum which carried him outside the area as he came out to catch the ball just inside the line on the first occasion.
Rainworth not only ended, but began the game nervously as the Roms set the early pace, and when Karl Slack fired them into a 13th-minute lead it looked very much against the run of play.
But Romulus found the irrepressible Blair Anderson uncontainable throughout, and it was the youngster’s astute through pass which picked out Slack in the right of the box to beat home keeper Lewis Exall with a blistering finish.
The lead lasted just two minutes before Sean Robinson levelled from a corner with a downward header bouncing high on the artificial surface and going in under the bar out of McCormack’s reach.
The home defence had been finding it hard to deal with Roms’ more direct, in-your-face approach, but the visitors began to make it a more even contest as the first period progressed, and the half ended all square at 1-1.
Rainworth, with dead-leg victim Danny Bacon replaced by Jordan Turner, began the second half with much more enterprise and, after Turner had gone close, Anderson, Goward and Slack all had shots blocked in a melee.
But Rainworth, by now deservedly, regained the lead seven minutes into the half when Slack scored his and his side’s second from close range, having been found by Turner’s cross from the left.
Romulus were furious two minutes later when Nathan Jackson had a headed equaliser ruled out by an offside flag. And their anger was compounded shortly afterwards when McCormack saw only yellow for punching away outside his area under the challenge of Ashley Jackson.
Instead, the first red card of the match was produced in the 73rd minute for Evans, and two minutes later Rainsworth struck again. Turner fed Anderson out on the right and ran on to meet the return and lash an unstoppable effort past Exall.
Romulus pushed hard for a way back, and found a lifeline when Goward handled in the box from a corner, was promptly dismissed, and Dexter Ravenhall hit the perfect spot kick past McCormack.
The home side were allowed five added minutes in which to salvage a point, and an again nervy Rainworth looked likely to capitulate, but held on for their second away win in three days.
ROMULUS: Exall, Evans, Popovic (Facey 68), Robin, Francis, Campbell (Beckley 68), Ravenhill, N. Walker, O’Callaghan, N. Jackson, A. Jackson. Subs not used: Folkes, Munday, Meakin-Richards.
RAINWORTH: McCormack, K. Walker, Goward, Camm, Kitchen, Burton, Lloyd, Bacon (Turner ht), Slack (Clarke 82), J. Holmes, Anderson. Sub not used: Cookse.
REFEREE: Mike Bingham of Leamington Spa.