Rainworth MW twice came from behind to gain their first ever point at the Victoria Pleasure Ground with a 2-2 draw against Goole AFC in the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South last night.
After a lacklustre performance by Wrens at home against Romulus on Saturday, last night’s trip didn’t bode well.
If you also take into account that in all their previous visits Rainworth hadn’t taken a single point there and the fact that in Goole’s five home league games this season only Leek had left with any, a home banker seemed a cert.
With Brad McGowan returning to his parent club Notts County and work commitments, the squad was down to the bare bones, and a special mention must go to Alex Ford who travelled all the way to Goole to be on the bench, knowing that the earliest he would arrive would be for the second half.
The management asked for a reaction after Saturday and tonight they certainly got one.
From the kick-off Rainworth battled for everything and there was a great improvement in their overall play.
Goole had the first attack, but it Rainworth who had the first efforts on goal when after a Matt Jones cross evaded everyone, Craig Mitchell hit his snapshot well wide.
In the eighth minute Andy Gascoigne and new signing Jordan Thewlis had a good interchange, but Gascoigne shot wide of the post.
The game continued to ebb and flow with neither side able to provide the finishing touch.
In fact the nearest either side came to scoring was in the 30th minute when Rainworth’s Alton Rennalls’ shot from just outside the area had Peter Fotko beaten, but it dipped after it had just cleared the crossbar.
Then in the 32nd minute from a corner Goole took the lead in a rather bizarre series of events.
The ball was initially headed goalwards by Benny Igiehon, Liam Roberts appeared to miss it with his punch and, as it was crossing the line, a desperate lunge by Dean Freeman could only help the ball in.
It took a while to name the goalscorer as questions were asked, did Roberts get a touch and was the ball over the line before Freeman made contact? In the end after much discussion the goal was awarded to Igiehon.
This only inspired Rainworth to push even harder for the equaliser and Mitchell’s goalbound effort was blocked by Gascoigne.
The lead, however, was only short-lived as in the 39th minute Tristram Whitman set up Jones and his cross was met by Freeman’s brilliant diving header for a well-deserved equaliser.
That was to be the final action of note in an evenly balanced half, with both sides feeling they could win.
The start of the second half saw Igieon through on goal, but Freeman was on hand to block his effort at the expense of a corner.
Rainworth had the next chance when, in the 53rd minute after good build-up play, Jack Andrews’ effort flew just past the far upright.
Goole almost capitalised from a well-rehearsed free kick as Gascoigne stood over the ball, only for James Cottingham to hit it. However, Roberts pulled off an excellent one-handed save.
The breakthrough came in the 60th minute when, with Rainworth on the attack, a wayward pass saw Goole counter-attack.
The ball found Thewlis and he drove at the Rainworth defence and struck a venomous shot towards the corner. Roberts made a brave effort but, although at full stretch he got his hand to it, he was unable to keep it out.
In the 68th minute it was Thewlis again, but this time his mazy run ended with a tame shot, that Roberts easily gathered.
Rainworth brought on Alex Haughton for Whitman, but it was Goole substitute Brad Grayson who nearly scored, only to be thwarted by Roberts’ outstretched leg.
This prompted Rainworth into a double substitution and Alex Ford and Aaron Richards came on for Jones and Ryan.
In the 80th minute, with Rainworth pressing, they got a deserved equaliser when a corner was only headed to the edge of the area and Rennalls hit an unstoppable volley into the bottom corner.
In the final minute Grayson had a chance to snatch the victory, but his effort was well wide and Rainworth deservedly came away with their first ever league point from the Victoria Pleasure Ground.
Saturday’s performance seemed a distant memory and whilst new recruits are desperately needed for the threadbare squad, they will now move forward with a renewed confidence.
RAINWORTH: Roberts, Coupe, Andrews, Hannigan, Freeman, Rennalls, Jones (Richards), Mitchell, Whitman (Haughton), Ryan (Ford), T. Brown. Sub not used: Brock.
REFEREE: K. Lawson.
WRENS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Dean Freeman.