Rainworth win despite second half battle

Match action from Rainworth versus Athersley
Match action from Rainworth versus Athersley

Rainworth ran out 3-1 winners at home to Athersley Recreation on Saturday, but it should have been a much more comprehensive victory.

Debuts were handed to Connor Smythe and Matthew Thompson, signed from Worksop and Ollerton respectively.

In the first half Rainworth could and should have been out of sight.

As early as the third minute Liam Theakstone almost opened the scoring, but his effort was easily saved by Rich Watson.

The next opportunity came as Sam Dockwray fed Matthew Sykes and this time Watson was grateful to regather after failing to hold the initial shot.

In the 17th minute Dockwrap provided a great ball to Theakstone and as Watson advanced, he was unlucky to see his chip fall agonisingly wide.

A minute later and Athersley had their only threat of a one-sided half as Joe Oliver broke, but Smythe was on hand to block his effort.

Rainworth piled forward, creating and missing chance after chance.

Yet another great move saw Sykes’s cross blocked by Ryan White at the expense of a corner.

And just when it looked like Athersley would survive Matt Plant rose above everyone to head home Thompson’s corner.

Four minutes later Sykes’ 20-yard free kick gave Watson no chance for a 2-0 cushion.

In the second half Athersley played a more physical game and hit back through Oliver who made no mistake from six yards.

The goal seemed to focus Rainworth minds and shortly afterwards a deft Morris flick almost scored but it was cleared off the line.

Athersley weren’t so fortunate in the 66th minute as Thompson found Sykes and from a narrow angle he drilled his shot into the far corner for the third goal.

Athersley still had their moments and when the ball bounced dangerously in the penalty area Smythe was on hand to clear at the expense of a corner.

At the final whistle Rainworth were deserved victors, but after a first half of complete dominance they were made to battle in the second.

RAINWORTH MWFC: Burrows; Hanson; Smythe; Andrews; Plant; Campion; Thompson; Dockwray; Theakstone (Bowring); Morris; Sykes. Subs (not used): Pereira; Williams; Mitchell.

MOM: Matthew Sykes

Attendance 64.