Rainworth ended 2015 with their worst performance of the season at Clipstone when they failed to score for only the second time in the league this season and needed to start 2016 on the front foot.
Visitors Garforth Town had already beaten Rainworth MWFC 3-2 on the opening day of the season and were looking to complete the double.But they were to be denied as Rainworth ran out 4-2 winners after overturning a 2-1 deficit at the break.
Rainworth almost broke the stalemate in the 11th minute when Connor Smythe’s cross was touched on by Liam Morris only for Matt Sykes to blast his effort over.
A couple of minutes later Rainworth went even closer when Ricky Hanson found Morris but Ben Hunter somehow managed to tip it over the bar.
Morris was unlucky in the 21st minute when he could only get his toe to Declan Brewin’s cross and only deflect it into Hunter’s grateful arms.
A minute later and Hunter was left a mere spectator when Sykes shot struck the post and rebounded to safety.
It seemed only a matter of time before Rainworth’s dominance turned into goals, that was until the 29th minute when Garforth had a huge stroke of good fortune.
As Rainworth were clearing one of Garforth’s rare attacks the ball struck Curtly Martin-Wyatt and rebounded past Leigh into the far corner of the net.
The good fortune changed the momentum and Garforth started to get more into the game and Rainworth were relieved when Ashley Preece’s effort just cleared the bar.
In the 36th minute only a fine full length save by Hunter prevented Morris’s shot on the turn giving Rainworth the equaliser.
Rainworth were not to be denied and, in the final minutes of the half, Connor Smythe left two defenders trailing in his wake, before he hit an unstoppable shot into the near post.
Any thoughts that Rainworth would go into the half-time break level were dashed when Garforth’s rehearsed corner routine left Mick Jones unmarked and he gave Leigh no chance as his header found the top corner.
Rainworth started the second half as they had the first and, within two minutes, Morris had set up Jack Barnett, but his effort cleared the bar.
Parity came in the 50th minute when from a corner Sykes mirrored Garforth’s second when he jumped the highest and headed it into the top corner.
Rainworth now had the bit between their teeth and, in the 59th minute, Sykes became provider when he played the ball into Smythe’s path on the edge of the area. The shot arrowed into the corner well out of the reach of Hunter’s desparing dive.
Rainworth should have increased their lead in the 66th minute when Morris beat the defence only to see his effort parried by Hunter but Sykes hit the rebound over when it seemed easier to score.
Garforth’s good fortune continued when Sykes broke clear and his cross was almost turned into his own net by the outstretched leg of a defender.
It wasn’t all Rainworth in this period and they had a wake-up call when Martin-Wyatt’s header bounced over the bar.
Rainworth’s fourth was a classical counter-attack when from the breakdown of a Garforth attack, Sam Dockwray hit a sumptuous defence splitting ball to Sykes. He drove into the area and hit a blockbuster of a shot and although Hunter got his hand to it he was unable to prevent it hitting the back of the net.
There was still time for chances at both ends before the referee blew for full-time.
Rainworth had deservedly reversed their opening day defeat at Garforth, but their Jekyll and Hyde performance leaves them someway off their best.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Leigh: Hanson: Smythe; J. Weaver (Dockwray); Plant; Andrews; Brewin (Theakstone); Barnett; Morris; Thompson; Sykes (Bingham). Subs (not used): York; Clarke.
Referee: Abbas Khan.
Man of match: Connor Smythe.