Saturday, 11 March 2017

Rainworth Miners Welfare 2 v Maltby Main 2 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 11th March 2017
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Kirklington Road, Rainworth
Rainworth Miners Welfare (2) 2
James Munson 9
Tomas Poole 39
Maltby Main (0) 2
Joshua Nodder 87
Richard Adams 89
Admission £5. Programme £1 (inc. team  sheet)
Attendance 72
THE66POW match photos click HERE
For some great additional photos by Armthorpe FC web
admin & fledgling groundhopper Steve Pennock click HERE
While Julian Watts and Ady Smith were masterminding a very creditable away win for Rainworth at Staveley last Saturday (where the Miners had lost 4-2 the previous weekend), Maltby could consider themselves to be desperately unlucky to have only taken a point off of the NCEL's second placed team: Pickering Town, who equalised, with a very (very, very) late goal, in a keenly contested game at Muglet Lane.
But the old adage, that things balance themselves out over the course of a football season came into play today, as a Miners side who were floored by a late sucker punch last time out, hit Rainworth with a double whammy inside the last three minutes this week.
Going into today's game, the Wrens had won two and lost three of their last five games, while Spencer Fearn's side had recorded three wins, one draw and lost just the once, in the aforementioned game at Inkersall Road.
When these two sides last met, the game finished 2-2, after the Miners had taken a 2-0 lead inside the opening twenty minutes.
It's funny how things turn out in the end, isn't it?
Today, exactly the reverse sequence of events that took place in October happened, with the Wrens succumbing to a Barcelonaesque comeback, minus the blatant diving.
Following this afternoon's draw at Kirklington Road, Maltby Main have just six NCEL Premier Division fixtures remaining. And only one of them is away from home, when they take on Worksop Town at the Windsor Foodservice Stadium on Saturday 22nd April.
The petrol stations around Rainworth will be making far more profit over the same period, as their Maltby counterparts, because the Wrens, who have seven games left to play, still face trips to Bridlington, Barton on Humber, Pickering and Garforth.
John Lock - R.I.P
Both teams have suffered dips in form during the season, when they've gravitated, albeit briefly, towards the four clubs who are battling to avoid the bottom three, relegation places. But having steered away from any such worries this particular game was all about playing for pride... and Rainworth and Maltby are two clubs that are steeped in the stuff.
Of course, the NCEL Premier Division is (apparently) becoming a twenty team division for the 2017-18 season; and with rumours picking up momentum about resignation issues involving one, possibly even two clubs, and the suggestion that another is switching leagues, then the end of season ups, downs, ins and outs, might not be quite as clear cut, black and white and nailed on, come the day of reckoning, as one might assume.
I wonder if Nora Batty was here today too
So it would seem, that it is still a good precautionary measure to aim to finish the season with as good a run of results as is humanly possible, for any number of teams, to cover any eventuality.
Local football however, is blighted with over imaginative story tellers, historical revisionists and bare faced (completely shameless) liars; so none of the above might even resemble an accurate version of the truth.
But, I'm a belt and braces kind of guy myself... and though a lot of the crap that is 'doing the rounds' can be dismissed completely out of hand, because it is laughable in extremes; in my experience it always pays to keep your guard up in readiness for any eventuality.
If you fail to prepare, you can prepare to... well y'know!
While Jack Weatherell, Rainworth's highly rated 'work experience' central defender from Lincoln City, missed today's game to nip off to watch the Imps play at Arsenal, while the Wrens centre forward James Munsun, also went on his travels... to Maltby! Where he thought today's game was being played, but he managed to get back to Kirklington Road in time for kick off. Whoops!
The opening exchanges of the game saw both goalkeepers and defences marshalling their goal areas well, and the first real effort on goal came from Shawn Mitchell, who shot from twenty yards after Ben Townsend had punched a long throw in from Nicky Darker out of his area in the sixth minute, but his dipping shot dropped wide of the right hand post.
Mitchell was involved again, when he fed the ball invitingly into the path of Sam Forster, but Townsend got down to his right to keep out the Miners wide man's angled shot.
Townsend released the ball quickly and Rainworth countered swiftly, but Danny Rusling was equal to Declan Brewin's shot from just outside the area and turned the ball away at the expense of a corner, that his defence dealt with.
The opening goal came on nine minutes, when Munsun took a return pass from Brewin to his left and went for precision instead of power and picked his spot from fifteen yards out.
Matty Sykes and Brewin were thwarted by blocking tackles from Darker and Richard Adams respectively, while at the other end, Josh Nodder saw off two challenges, but saw his close range effort blocked by Townsend.
Townsend rode his luck when he air kicked a back pass from Rob Ludlam that sat up in front of him, but sprinted back to hook the ball away off of the goal line... but then pulled off a good save to keep out Nodder's acrobatic 'scissor kick' from Forster's left wing cross.
James Munsun's teammates help him to find his way back to the halfway line.
Munsun pounced on a defensive slip and drilled the ball towards the bottom left hand corner of the Miners goal, but Rusling kept the ball out and Harris skied the rebound in the general direction of one of the wind turbines that dominates the view on the horizon around Rainworth.
The referee waved play on, when Brewin hit the deck in the Maltby area, after: he went to ground over Joe Austin's outstretched leg or he'd 'assimilated' being fouled. Either way, you would have expected a bit more assertiveness from the official, but none was forthcoming.
You wouldn't ever want to see a card happy referee, dishing out bookings willy nilly and taking centre stage; but if it wasn't a penalty then it was a dive. 
Please understand that I'm not singling Brewin out for criticism, he's a decent player all told, and I do not wish to give any match official a bad report, because players (and even mangers) make mistakes all the time, as do self indulgent bullshit bloggers. 
Without referee's and assistants there would be no game, when all is said and done and sometimes it can't be a very pleasant or easy job.
But, in not dealing swiftly with such an incident, the referee can set a dangerous precedent at times, where certain players will quickly lose any respect they had for the man in charge of the game and think that they have carte blanche to run amok with impunity.
Of course, this is merely my opinion, but the referee dished out two yellow cards in a short space of time immediately afterwards, as the mood of the game took a turn for the worse for a short while.
Ryan Herbert upended Mitchell near the halfway line and was subsequently spoken to for a string of trips and fouls, but Darker's long free kick into Rainworth's goalmouth was hooked away by Conner Griffin.
The Wrens knocked the ball round patiently while looking for an opening, before Tomas Poole unleashed a crashing shot from thirty yards out, which rebounded back towards him and he let fly with an unstoppable half volley to put the home side two goals ahead.
And things nearly turned from ad to worse for Maltby, when Austin blocked Sykes shot, that looked destined to creep in just inside the post.
The visitors rallied just before the break, with Ryan Carroll exchanging two quick 'one-twos' with Nodder before Jordan Claxton made a last ditch interception, while Townsend had to move quickly off of his line to smother the ball at Carroll's feet from Steve Hopewell's knock forward.
HT: Wrens 2 v Miners 0
Truth be told, during the first half, Maltby had failed to hit the heights of last week's excellent display against Pickering and seemed to be labouring to get going, but after the restart they began to impose themselves on the game more and just two minutes after the restart, Rainworth had Townsend to thank for preserving their two goal lead,when he got a hand to Ryan Carroll's twenty yard free kick and turned the ball away at full stretch. It was a brilliant save from the Wrens captain, who followed up his part piece when he blocked Carroll's shot from Forster's cross.
The home side's keeper punched a Patterson corner away and play moved quickly from box to box as Brewin took full advantage of a missed clearance on the halfway line and charged forward but Rusling was alert to the danger and kept the Wrens number seven out.
Rusling was soon in action again, saving from Harris and then Munsun in quick succession.
Maltby's management team thought that everybody was engrossed in the game and missed their quick finger blasting session on the touchline, in front of a young lady too!
But there is always... and I mean always! Some pest with a camera lurking around these days.
Go behind the dug out next time lads!
Poole scuffed a shot over Rusling's bar, while Forster replicated the scene in a parrallel universe at the other end of the pitch, when he lifted the ball over from the right hand side of the Wrens area.
Once, twice, thrice again, Rusling was Maltby's saviour, when Munsun set up Sykes who saw his angled shot blocked by the Maltby keeper, who then saved from Harris who'd latched on to the loose ball from the rebound, before making a third save from Poole's thumping shot.
Rusling then collected a pair of binoculars from his bag to look and see where his defenders had cleared off to.
When the grand finale finally came and Maltby salvaged a point with an audacious smash and grab raid, it would be worth remembering that their keeper had kept them in the game with a string of saves. 
Darker laid a wide ball out to Carroll on the left, who surged forward at pace before delivering a pinpoint cross to Dean Smith who headed fractionally over the bar.
Maltby ventured forward once more and yet again it was Darker who got the move going from a pass forward to Patterson from midfield, who in turn picked out Hopewell, whose flick on to Forster was punched clear by Townsend.
Maltby who had started the first half with a flourish, before taking their foot off the gas for a  while, were seeing the game out in a full speed ahead fashion too.
Nodder slid a pass through into the path of Mitchell who beat Townsend but saw his saw clip the top of the bar.
With Maltby throwing men forward, Sykes broke away down the left but fired a tame shot into the side netting, while Brewin and Lewis Parkin were both better placed to score.
As the game entered the final three minutes, Maltby won a throw in out on the left flank. Long throw specialist Darker launched the ball into the Rainworth area, Dean Smith flicked the ball on and Nodder forced the ball past Townsend, to set up the biggest comeback since Lazurus, or October when Rainworth visited Muglet Lane even.
Another Darker throw in found Richard Adams and... whack! You don't stop those! Richard Adams hit a peach of  a volley that dipped in just below the cross bar, inside the final minute.
Maltby's recovery was complete and as the players left the field, I would say that I would have to agree that now the visitors had picked up the ante and claimed the initiative, that if the game had gone on for just a few more minutes, they would probably have claimed a winning goal too.
FT: Rainworth Miners Welfare 2 v Maltby Main 2
But in  the end, a draw was probably a fair result, because neither side deserved to lose.
And the dramatic finale, along with the other stand out moments from the game, definitely offset several scrappy and disjointed bits.