GUTSY Goole came good with three goals in the final 20 minutes to end Rainworth’s three match winning run with a 3-1.
The Wrens had led by a well taken Lee Cooksey goal on the half-hour until two poorly defended corners in the 72nd and 83rd minutes enabled Matty Bloor and Vill Powell to turn the game the Vikings’ way before, in added time, overall man of the match Simon Harrison let fly with a 35-yard screamer which was worthy of a much higher stage.
It could have been worse, for Scott Hellewell saw his acute-angled 85th minute cross-cum-shot come back off the inside of the far post without crossing the line.
Having been delayed at work, in-form Wrens striker Nathan Adams was named as substitute in case he arrived late, but in the event he was unable to show at all, so Kyle Gee-Pemberton was given his chance up front alongside Stephen Akers and Cooksey, who was handed the job of leading the line.
Also included was 11th-hour signing Niall O’Rafferty from Worksop Town, who made his debut only after last minute concerns about his eligibility were cleared up.
The new boy, a former Mansfield Town youngster who had previously figured with Grantham Town and Frickley Athletic, made a promising debut in midfield before a lack of match fitness caught up with him in the second half.
Manager Kevin Gee was in philosophical mood after the defeat. He had cautioned that his new charges would not win every match.
And, despite the interval lead when Rainworth had dominated without asking enough questions of Vikings keeper Aaron Chapman, Gee admitted afterwards that he had not been happy with the overall first half show.
He said: “I warned the players at half time that if they played like that in the second half they would lose, and it proved my point.
“Sometimes you learn more about your squad when things don’t go for you, and too many of the team fell into the old ways as individuals without playing as a team.
“It’s important that we respond in the right way because we have a difficult December coming up, but there were positives to be taken. We defended well other than from the corners which gave Goole their first two goals, and Niall showed his capabilities—he’s a big, strong box-to-box player who I’m sure will be an asset to the club once he gains his match fitness.”
Watched by the Wrens’ lowest crowd of the season of just 67—fractionally less than half their league average of 135—O’Rafferty quickly warmed the freezing home fans who had forsaken the fireside with a jinking, squirming run through the Goole defence, and the fans were all set to acclaim a superb opening goal until Chapman got down well, sprawling to turn the low shot around his post.
And, as Rainworth looked to continue their bright start, a promising run by Akers carried him to the by-line before his cross was cut out.
Chapman needed attention after a collision with Cooksey at the end of another enterprising move, but when he recovered he just managed to clear another ball ahead of Cooksey from a throw in.
Goole threatened for the first time in the 15th minute but Aaron Martin could not make a decent connection onto Glyn Cotton’s ball into the Rainworth box.
After the Wrens’ bright start the game went off the boil for a quarter of an hour, but was brought to life when Cooksey bagged his first goal of the season, and although subsequently upstaged by Harrison’s late strike, what a fine goal it was, too. Taking the ball down some 25 yards out, he cleverly beat his marker before netting with a spearing low drive into the corner.
One had the feeling that a second goal before half time would kill the match, but it wasn’t to be. Steve Kennedy sent Akers on the left to put over a low cross only for Gee-Pemberton to be beaten by a bobble in the six yard box, and after Goole had the ball in the Rainworth net only to see it disallowed for a foul on Joe McCormack, the ball was played straight upfield where Gee-Pemberton, on the run, shot disappointingly wide.
Rainworth continued to go forward early in the second half, but there were not takers for Cooksey’s cross as Chapman claimed it ahead of the lurking Akers.
But gradually the Vikings were coming more into the picture and pushing Rainworth back. But and large the home side, and in particular the three central defenders Kennedy, Tommy Hannigan and sweeper Mark Camm were on top of the job.
Harrison, though, was finding a lot of joy pushing along the right and linking well with Danny Wright.
Rainworth tried to freshen things up by sending on Ant Lynam for Cooksey in the 57th minute, and four minutes later he saw a narrow angled shot from the left well saved—but that was the last time that Chapman was seriously troubled.
O’Rafferty did put in another mazy run in the 66th minute to set up Lynam to deliver a low cross to Gee-Pemberton who saw his attempt blocked.
But it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors would equalise as Rainworth struggled to get out of their own half, and it came in the 72nd minute. McCormack had done well to push Matt Stirland’s shot on the turn for a corner on the left, but it was not well defended at the far post and Bloor was gifted an easy chance which he accepted with glee.
Kennedy might have restored the lead but headed Ricky Hanson’s flag kick the wrong side of the far post, and the skipper then did well to cut out Harrison’s searching pass aimed for Powell.
The skipper did well again in the 82nd minute with an important interception for a corner as Wright looked to pick out Powell, but it was from the resulting flag kick that Goole went ahead, when once again poor defending left Powell with a simple tap in.
With Rainworth reeling, Hellewell saw his cross shot hit the inside of the far post before being cleared by Kennedy, but Goole had one more ace up their sleeve. A minute into three added by excellent referee Matt Walsh Rainworth lost possession at the front to Harrison, whose tremendous strike from all of 35 yards found the top corner to complete Rainworth’s misery.
RAINWORTH: McCormack, Hanson, Carter (Briggs 85), Hannigan, Camm, Kennedy, O’Rafferty, Bacon, Gee-Pemberton (Spargo 75), Cooksey (Lynam 57), Akers. Subs not used: Timons, Adams.
GOOLE: Chapman, Harrison, Stratford, Cotton, Hellewell, Jeffs, Wright, Bloor, Powell (Robson 89), Martin, Stirland. Subs not used: Wilkinson, Rose, Pugh.
REFEREE: Matt Walsh of Sheffield.
GOALS: Rainworth—Cooksey 30. Goole—Bloor 72; Powell 83; Harrison 90+1.
RAINWORTH MEN OF THE MATCH: Steve Kennedy.