Eastwood came to Rainworth today for their Evo-Stik Division One South game, on the back of two encouraging performances against Halesowen and Newcastle but left with a 3-0 defeat.
The game would be a litmus test for a Rainworth side who had failed to capitalise on their strong performances over the holiday period and their apparent achilese heel against bottom placed clubs.
Eastwood started the first half with a strong wind at their backs and in the 3rd minute should have scored when Nick Labbate found himself with just the keeper to beat, but he screwed it hopelessly wide.
With the wind strengthening Eastwood continued to play in the Rainworth half and Vijay Selvam hit a speculative shot well wide. As the half progressed Rainworth managed to wrest some control and limit their opponents to long range efforts.
In the 9th minute after an interchange of passes, Sam Purcicoe had his goal-bound shot blocked at the expense of a corner. Rainworth were now beginning to get their rythmn and player-manager Scott Rickard’s free-kick was punched out for a throw in.
Whilst most of the play was in the Rainworth half, this was mainly due to the strong wind than any Eastwood dominance. In fact most of the half chances in the first half fell to Rainworth with Ashley Longstaff and Damien Magee going close.
The half-time whistle went without either side scoring, but it was Rainworth who were the more satisfied having played into a very strong wind.
The wind appeared to have dropped for the second half but that was not the case as Rainworth immediately went on the attack. In the 46th minute a fierce James Cullingworth shot rebounded off the post and Longstaff’s follow up was deflected for a corner.
Straight from the corner Rickards kick flew over the keeper and into the goal to give Rainworth the lead and Eastwood had a mountain to climb. Rainworth continued to use the wind to their advantage and most of the play was now in the Eastwood half of the pitch.
The wind was of such an advantage that in the 61st minute Longstaff tried an audiscious 40yard shot, that beat the keeper but that just went the wrong side of the cross-bar. Rainworth didn’t have to wait long for their second as Jack Hawkins set up Longstaff in the 68th minute and he duly scored.
There was a worrying moment in the 73rd minute when leading scorer Longstaff had to be replaced by Matthew Bowles, with what looked like a minor muscle pull. This in no way diminished Rainworth’s effort to increase their lead and in the 78th minute from a Mark Dudley free-kick, Rickards headed in the third.
Rainworth continued to attack and Bowles and Dudley came close to increasing the lead. As the game neared its close Rainworth took the opportunity to rest Cullingworth and Magee, replacing them with Nick Green and Scott Rogers. It was loanee Green’s debut and in the short time he was on the pitch, he showed that he was a more than capable deputy. The introduction of Rogers was also well received for a player who has proved his commitment to the team, without getting a lot of game time.
The final whistle brought Rainworth their first win after three consecutive draws, now they must assess the injuries before Saturday’s home game against Newcastle.
RAINWORTH: Martin; Varley; Dudley; Lloyd; Walker; Cullingworth (Green 83); Purcicoe; Magee (Rogers 83); Longstaff (73); Rickards; Hawkins.
Referee: David Sullivan.
Man of Match: Jack Hawkins