Wrens held after twice letting the lead slip against Lincoln

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A late equaliser for Lincoln United denied Rainworth MW all three points after the Wrens had twice led in this 2-2 draw at Kirklington Road on Saturday.

Football is a game of differing styles, but at the end of the day it is the team who scores most goals who wins.

It had been less than a month since Rainworth went to Lincoln United and were victorious in what can only be described as a smash and grab raid.

On that occasion Lincoln had the lion’s share of the play, but Rainworth scored one more goal and took all three points.

So for Saturday’s Evo-Stik Division One South encounter, Rainworth knew what to expect and Lincoln didn’t disappoint.

As in that previous encounter Lincoln got the ball forward at every opportunity and pressured the opposition in their own penalty area.

From the kick-off, Lincoln’s long ball game put pressure on the Rainworth defence and only resolute defending kept them at bay.

There were few clear cut chances and, as the game progressed, Rainworth started to get into it, although neither side looked like scoring.

That changed in the 36th minute when a through ball from Jack Hawkins found Jordan Ball, who showed composure as he checked inside and slotted the ball home.

In all honesty that was the only piece of football in a half where the ball, only fleetingly touched the grass.

The second half continued much like the first and Rainworth started slowly and were soon on the back foot.

James Martin failed to gather yet another aerial ball into the area and Rainworth’s defence only just cleared the ball.

The game was getting very physical and Lincoln were well equipped in this department

In the 58th minute Rainworth had to replace Jordan Ball with Ashley Longstaffe after a number of physical challenges which the referee deemed to be no more than free kicks.

It was evident that Lincoln’s route back into the game would come from an aerial set piece, and in the 61st minute they almost scored with James Martin tipping over from a corner.

From the resultant corner Rainworth’s defence failed to clear the ball and Matthew Langham bundled the ball into the net to equalise.

Rainworth went straight down the other end and, with Stuart Reddington, faced with a three-on-one, his cute handball was spotted by the eagle-eyed referee.

The subsequent penalty was duly despatched by Jamie Clarke to once again give Rainworth the lead.

The 68th minute saw Lincoln nearly conjure an equaliser, only for Kieran Walker to clear the inviting cross, shortly afterwards Gregory Simmons replaced Jack Hawkins.

This saw a period of Rainworth pressure and Longstaffe’s great ball was taken off Clarke’s foot as he drove in on goal.

Rainworth made their final substitution when they replaced Jamie Clarke with James Cullingworth and, with his first touch, his ball to Simmons was cut out at the expense of a corner.

The destiny of the game was decided in the final minutes when, in the 86th minute, the best move of the match saw Rainworth break four-on-one with Callum Lloyd putting the ball into the net.

The goal was, however, rightly disallowed for offside and the failure to legally convert the chance quickly came back to haunt them.

Rainworth had withstood Lincoln’s aerial barrage for most of the game, but with two minutes remaining a long throw found Langham at the far post. His header found Joshua Bowden and, despite valiant attempts to clea,r his shot found the back of the net to equalise.

Whilst never a classic, both sides can take credit for the way they battled.

Rainworth will see today as two points lost, whilst Lincoln will wonder why they only have one point from the two encounters.

RAINWORTH: Martin, Walker, Magee, Lloyd, Varley, Saunders, Hanson, Rickards, Clarke (Cullingworth 80), Ball (Longstaffe 58), Hawkins (Simmons 70). Subs not used: Flint, Gregory.

REFEREE: Nicholas Hopton.