Depleted Rainworth MW were unable to wreck Mickleover’s 100 per cent home record as they went down 2-0 in the Evo-Stick NPL Division One South last night.
Rainworth’s team were decimated by the burden of work commitments and suspensions and were up against a side with a perfect home record.
From the whistle Mickleover went straight on the attack and as early as the second minute they had their first attempt on goal, but Andy Dales’ attempted lob was off target.
The away side experienced another early scare when a fumble with Liam Roberts almost gifted the home side a goal. But captain Dan White rescued the situation at the expense of a corner.
Rainworth’s defence were unfazed by the constant challenges from the attacking Mickleover team.
Jacob Hazel threatened a goal for the home side in the 20th minute, but an incredible save denied Mickleover from taking the lead.
The first Rainworth chance came in the 25th minute when Mark Camm found Matt Jones, but when he crossed the ball to debutant Sam Loughran, the opportunity was lost.
After Rainworth failed to clear the ball, Hazel took advantage and scored the first goal of the match for Mickleover in the 29th minute.
Both teams had numerous other chances to get another goal before half-time. The final chance of the half went to Rainworth, but Jack Andrew’s driven cross to Loughran became just another missed opportunity.
While Mickleover had dominated most of the stats, Rainworth had battled and deservedly only trailed by the one goal.
The second half continued in a similar pattern to the first. Demidh made a shot at goal in the 54th minute, only to be tipped over by Roberts. It was quickly followed by efforts by Dales and Arcadi Esposito, but neither troubled the keeper.
Rainworth’s efforts to get an equaliser were strengthened as Oliver Brock and Alex Haughton were brought on for Jones and Whitman.
The changes took immediate effect as Haughton ran into the Mickleover half, but by the time his pass reached Loughran, he had strayed offside.
Haughton’s efforts were short-lived after he ran for a through ball, injuring his hamstring and Aaron Richards replaced him.
A rare White error threatened a Karl Ashton goal, but Roberts made a good save at the expense of a corner.
Well into stoppage time Ashton hit an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area that arrowed into the top corner to finally seal a 2-0 victory for Mickleover.
However, Rainworth can take heart from the battling performance they produced on the night and Mickleover have a great chance of promotion this season.