Saturday 4th July 2015
at Kirklington Road, Rainworth
PSF - Green Energy Challenge Trophy
Rainworth Miners Welfare (1) 1
Lewis Chambers (pen) 33
Mansfield Town (1) 5
Anthony Dwyer 30, Craig Westcarr 56, Nicky Hunt 64,
Ali Yussuf 70, 79
Admission £6. Programme with teamsheet £1. Attendance 675
Burrows, Taylor, Shaw, Andrews, Harris, Hansen, Chambers, Pereira, Morris, Dockwray, Williams
Subs - Bingham. Proctor, Curzon, Bowring
Shearer, Marsden, Collins, Pearce, Danquah, Dwyer, Chapman, Fitzpatrick, N.Thomas, Marriott, Beardsley.
Wilson, Hunt, Tafazolli, Shires, Benning, Rose, J.Thomas, Clements, Lambe, Westcarr, Yussuf.
But the Wrens won't mind too much, given the decent sized boost in their coffers that an healthy attendance provided.
And the bar takings in the Welfare across the road, weren't to be sniffed at either.
The difference in quality between the Football League and the fifth rung of the Non League ladder was quite marked.
Rainworth have the makings of a very good NCEL Premier Division side and their new management team, Julian Watts and Ady Smith, are tipped to do very well, with the very useful looking side they have assembled, which includes the much sought after former Mansfield Town youngster Lewis Chambers.
Nathan Thomas created that opening goal with a well weighted pass, after a dribbling run into the Wrens half, that presented Anthony Dwyer with the kind of gilt edged opportunity he was never going to miss from. 0-1
Louis Danquah tripped Lewis Chambers as he skipped into the Mansfield area ... and the former Stags player got up to beat Scott Shearer with the resultant spot kick. 1-1
The Stags brushed themselves down and upped the tempo in a bid to regain the momentum, which they did, but Rainworth dug in deep and were still in the game as the referee, Ed Cook sounded his whistle for half time.
Of course, there are also above average quota of bald headed realists and cynics at the 'Wonk Hall' stadium, who have seen and heard tell of many a previous false dawn, but even most of them have a demeanour of cautious optimism about them.
The second half was even more one sided than the first, suffice to say, the Kirklington Road pitch didn't get a great deal of wear and tear at the clubhouse end that Mansfield were defending after the break.
Sure, the Stags youth team keeper had a couple of Rainworth attacks to deal with, but Craig Westcarr was effectively unlocking and then dismantling the Wrens defence at the far end of the pitch, and 'scored' the goal that put the visitors back in front, before turning creator for Nicky Hunt (once) and Ali Yussuf (twice), even if the 56th minute goal he claimed for himself was more of a deflected effort, rather than an intentional strike.
1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5.
Apologies for a lack of any concise detail, but the second half was pretty much a case of Mansfield playing a cat and mouse game around the Rainworth penalty area, with a few inevitable goals thrown in for good measure.
Neither side should read too much into a full time score, that not only reflects the balance of play, but also the five division gap that separates the two completely different football environments these respective sides play in.
Pre-season practice games do what they say on tin and rarely offer any indication of the real bread and butter stuff that commences next month.
Rainworth and the Stags should both finish comfortably in the top halves of the divisions they will be competing in.