Rainworth Miners Welfare’s 3-2 win over Gresley was more like viewing supermarket offers than a football match at times on Saturday.
While there was no agreement between the respective supporters about the result, there was it appeared total agreement about the gifts given by both sides.
To be fair to the goalscorers, while some of the chances were gifted, they should be credited with the way they scored them.
The game kicked off with both sides looking to get their season back on track, Rainworth after a poor run and Gresley as they tried get back to the levels they attained last season.
Rainworth had the first chance in the second minute after being awarded a fortuitous corner Grant Ryan’s header was well wide.
Then the first gift of the game a poor clearing pass was lost on the edge of the area and Jordan Nadat pounced to score for Gresley in the ninth minute.
This was more worrying because Rainworth were guilty of the same generosity in Tuesday’s game at Scarborough, and they came away from that game a well beaten side.
Then a second defensive lapse almost gifted Eric Graves, but fortunately Rainworth cleared at the expense of a corner.
Rainworth going forward were starting to cause problems and in the 14th minute Ashley Longstaffe had his shot blocked, but it fell to James Cullingworth whose driven shot was tipped over for a corner.
It was looking like yet another one of those matches when chances were either spurned or saved.
However, from the corner Longstaffe headed it on and Ryan headed it into the net.
It was Ryan’s first full start in over 14 months, having returned as a second half substitute in Tuesday’s game.
The game was played at a frantic pace and both sides created chances without providing the finish and the defences looking vulnerable at times.
In the 18th minute Kieran O’Connell was through on goal but James Martin thwarted his effort, when he probably should have scored. Rainworth were starting to get the upper hand without threatening the goal.
In the 30th minute Gresley almost regained the lead, but Nadat’s effort was deflected over for a corner.
At the other end Gresley managed to scramble the ball away for a corner as the ball evaded Rainworth’s efforts to force it home.
The half-time whistle blew with both sides feeling they should be in the lead.
The only certainty was that if the game continued as it had there were going to be more goals.
The first action of the second half saw a Gresley cross find its way into the box and with Martin calling for the ball inexplicably a defender, when under no pressure, hit it straight to the opposition. The ball came back this time with purpose and Nadat needed no further invitation to put the ball into the net.
They say Christmas only comes once a year, Rainworth were proving it comes twice.
Rainworth continued to search for yet another equaliser and, in quick succession, Jordan Ball shot over and Cullingworth’s shot went just wide.
In the 59th minute a fine Gresley move ended with O’Connell’s shot being tipped round the post by Martin for a corner.
Rainworth kept up the pressure but were still struggling to find an end product, when in the 66th minute Cullingworth fed Ryan his cross was met by Jordan Ball who steered the ball into the net.
Both sides searched for a winner and there were chances at both ends, but in the 87th minute Cullingworth found Ryan who hit his shot into the roof of the net.
That was to be the final score of a game that was entertaining, if lacking at times in skill, in a match were Grant Ryan gave glimpses of what we can expect when he fully reaches match fitness.
RAINWORTH: Martin; Walker; Dudley; Lloyd; Varley; Saunders; Cullingworth; Rickards; Longstaffe (Clarke 79); Ball Ryan. Subs not used: Magee, Gregory, Hawkins, Hanson.
REFEREE: Dean Bradshaw.
CHAD MAN OF THE MATCH: Grant Ryan.