A 90th-minute goal gave Rainworth Miners’ Welfare a 3-2 win at Maltby Main in the Borthern Counties East League Premier Division.
Rainworth’s performances so far this season could be described as mixed, however more performances like this against a very strong Maltby side and the ‘Work in Progress’ tag will be a thing of the past.
The start was understandable considering it is almost a complete new squad and management team.
To anyone looking at the final scoreline and goal times it would have appeared that Rainworth snatched the win at the death.
However, it was a very competitive match, spoiled in part, by a swirling breeze and a dry bumpy surface. The first half was evenly contested with first one side then the other on the front-foot, this was reflected in the 2-2 half-time scoreline.
The second half was dominated by Rainworth who could have scored more than the one goal, especially in the final 15 minutes when they were only thwarted by desperate defending.
Maltby were the first to threaten and only double saves by Ben Townsend prevented Maltby taking the lead.
There was however some controversy when from the resultant corner in the sixth minute Lee Hill appeared to challenge Townsend with the ball in his hands. The ball was subsequently dropped and Hill bundled the ball over the line and despite Rainworth’s protests the goal was allowed to stand.
Two minutes later Rainworth were level when from Jack Waddle’s free-kick Julian Lawrence’s header slipped through the keepers grasp and over the line.
The play was frenetic and Hill did well to make space for himself but when well-placed drove his effort wide, at this stage both sides were creating chances but neither could find the necessary finish.
That changed in the 29th minute when the Maltby keeper hesitated and Nathan Modest needed no second invitation has he blast the ball home to regain the lead.
Three minutes later a defensive lapse allowed Ross Duggan an opportunity which he took, lobbing Townsend for the equaliser.
On the stroke of half-time Lawrence almost regained the lead for Rainworth but his effort was just over. The referee blew for half-time with the scores level, a fair reflection on the first half action.
From the kick-off in the second half Townsend did well to save with his body. It was to be a rare goal attempt in a half which Rainworth dominated for the most part.
Rainworth almost regained the lead when Tomas Poole’s far post header only needed a touch to regain the lead. A minute later Modest’s cross was met at the far post by Jamal Smith but his goal-bound effort was blocked.
It was Smith again in the 55th minute but once again his goal-bound effort was blocked. Four minutes later Maltby somehow survived a goalmouth scramble, with at least three Rainworth bodies inches away from forcing it over the line.
It seemed only a matter of time for Rainworth to retake the lead as Lawrence set up Smith only for the keeper to save at the second attempt and then Modest broke clear only to clear the crossbar with his effort.
In the 67th minute Rainworth made their first substitution bringing on Shaquille McKenzie for his debut in place of Liam Royles.
Maltby created the odd half-chance but most of the play was in their half of the pitch as Rainworth built up the pressure.
Rainworth made a second substitution bring on Bryan Dakouri for Smith in the 78th minute.
The Maltby goal appeared to be living a charmed life as three goalbound efforts were blocked in quick succession.
Rainworth brought on fresh legs as they made their third and final substitution bringing on Sam Bebbington for Modest.
A Rainworth passing move had everything but the final finish as Dakouri passed to Waddle, he turned it inside to McKenzie and his inch perfect pass just cleared the bar as Dakouri ghosted in.
A minute later Rob Ludlam’s effort looked to be goal-bound as it cleared the keeper, but it landed on the roof of the net.
With the 90 minutes, almost up a long throw by Max Pemberton was met at the far post by Ludlam and although a Maltby leg almost deflected his effort, the ball went in at the far post.
There was still time for Dakouri to have a run and shot, but his effort just cleared the crossbar as Rainworth ran out deserved winners as the whistle blew for full-time.
There are still areas to work on but Rainworth are fast becoming a team to fear with consecutive wins against two very competitive teams in Bottesford Town and Maltby Main.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Royles (McKenzie); Claxton; Wilson; Ludlam; Pemberton; Poole; Waddle; Modest (Bebbington); Lawrence; Smith (Dakouri). Subs (not used); Whittacker; Barnes.