Rainworth Miners Welfare’s season can be defined in two words ‘If only’.
Since Boxing Day they have put in displays that in previous seasons would have produced enough points to have been clear of danger.
And they were dealt another harsh lesson on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 by second-placed Newcastle Town.
On a day when the elements played their part the difference between the sides was a mistake and a clearance off the line.
Newcastle won the toss and played with a strong breeze at their backs, but it was Rainworth who had the first chance.
In the eighth minute a Grant Ryan cross found Oliver Brock, but he was unable to generate any power in his shot and it was easily gathered by Daniel Lloyd Weston.
The 10th minute saw Newcastle Town suffer a major blow when leading goalscorer Jordan Cole suffered an ankle injury and was unable to take any further part in the game.
The game was struggling to produce any flowing football, in part due to the weather conditions.
Newcastle’s first chance came in the 26th minute when after the ball ping-ponged between both sides, Jose Gurrionero hit his shot wide.
The breakthrough came in the 41st minute when a long throw was missed by David Reay and substitute Joshua Gordon was on hand to head it home.
There was a long delay as Reay received treatment for an ankle injury sustained in the incident and at one stage it appeared he would be unable to continue.
The final opportunity fell to Rainworth in added time when Danny Williams free-kick eventually found Darren Mansaram, but he wasn’t able to control it and it was cleared.
The start of the second half saw Reay able to continue in goal, although his movement appeared restricted.
Rainworth started to make use of the advantage of the breeze but in quick succession Kuwesi Ofushine and Danny Williams put their efforts well wide.
The 59th minute summed up Rainworth’s season Grant Ryan’s effort easily beat Weston only for him to see it kicked off the line.
Oliver Brock put his header wide as Rainworth started to enjoy the lion’s share of the territory helped in no small part by the strong breeze.
Ryan was booked for persistent offending and Rainworth brought on Elliot Brown for Danny Williams.
Rainworth went close again when Leon Osborne’s free-kick was headed goal wards by Mansaram, only for Weston to gather it on the line.
Rainworth made further substitutions bringing on Glodi Bange for Grant Ryan and Ian Robinson for Darren Mansaram.
As the half progressed Rainworth looked the only side likely to score, but in truth lacked the cutting edge, Newcastle on the other hand used every opportunity to run down the clock.
Romaine Graham almost produced an equaliser just before the end, but from a tight angle failed to hit the target and Ofushine put his effort well wide.
At the final whistle Newcastle were relieved to have secured the three points, whilst Rainworth were left with yet another ‘if only’ moment.
Rainworth: Reay; Freeman; Hodgett-Young; Graham; White; Ofushine; Williams (E.Brown); Brock; Osborne; Mansaram (I.Robinson); Ryan (Bange).
Referee: Martin Dexter.
Man of the match: Leon Osborne.