Rainworth MW made a late arrival and then went down 4-0, Lewis Clarkson bagging a hat-trick, in their Evo-Stik NPL Division One South clash at Scarborough Athletic last night.
Rainworth’s longest away trip of the season wasn’t helped when a motorway accident delayed their arrival, meaning the kick-off was delayed by 30 minutes.
The night didn’t improve when they put in arguably their worst performance of the season against a Scarborough side who gave a clinical display on how to finish.
From the kick-off Rainworth were on the back foot and were fortunate not to go behind in the opening exchanges. Their late arrival couldn’t have helped, but the performance on the night went deeper than that
It took Scarborough until the ninth minute to open the scoring when a defensive lapse gifted them the ball and an inch-perfect cross was headed into the net by Clarkson with some aplomb.
The travelling fans feared the worst with the goal only encouraging the opposition and it only seemed a matter of time before their crisp passing game would be rewarded with further goals.
On the night Scarborough needed no help, but Rainworth obliged anyway when in the 14th minute yet another defensive error gave Clarkson the ball on the edge of the area and he needed no further encouragement as he struck an unstoppable shot, giving James Martin no chance in the Rainworth goal.
The feeling in the ground now was not would Scarborough win but by how many?
The third nearly came in the 18th minute when the impressive Clarkson left defenders in his wake and his progress was only stopped by a mistimed tackle at the expense of a penalty.
Up stepped Gary Bradshaw only for his well struck penalty to be well saved by Martin, whose man of the match performance for the Wrens on the night was to be the difference between a beating and a thrashing in terms of the scoreline.
After the early bombardment Rainworth did start to get into the game without ever actually threatening their opponents goal.
Just when it seemed the Scarborough threat had been blunted in the 37th that man Clarkson again hit a fierce shot and only a fine save prevented any further addition to the score. That was to be the last action of note in a half in which Rainworth had been second best.
Rainworth made changes at half-time with Jack Hawkins replacing Jason Gregory and Grant Ryan, returning to action after a 14 month lay-off replacing Jamie Clarke.
This did bring Rainworth more into the game and for a period there was parity that was until the 68th minute when Clarkson completed his hat-trick with yet another clinical finish.
Thankfully for Rainworth he was substituted in the 71st minute, having given as good a performance as you will see at this level, each of his goals being of the highest order.
Scarborough are by no means a ‘one man’ team and as if to reinforce that fact a minute later Bradshaw completed the night’s scoring with an absolute screamer from the edge of the area, which gave Martin absolutely no chance.
The 80th minute saw a rare Rainworth chance when Ryan put his shot just wide, and this signalled a late Rainworth flourish with Ball and Hawkins going close.
Whilst well beaten on the night, Rainworth haven’t suddenly become a bad team overnight, but there are certain areas that need addressing before they become a worrying trend.
As for Scarborough, on last night’s performance it beggared belief that they had only won three games prior to this game and ex-Wren’s manager Rudy Funk must be complemented on the quality of his side.
RAINWORTH: Martin; Walker, Magee, Lloyd, Gregory (Hawkins 45), Saunders, Hanson, Rickards, Longstaffe (Flint 82), Clarke (Ryan 45),Ball. Subs: (not used): Cullingworth, Dudley.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: James Martin.