The Notts FA Senior Cup Final between Rainworth and rivals Carlton Town ended in a comprehensive and deserved 6-2 victory for the favourites Carlton last night.
Whilst both Evo-Stik Division One sides were hit by injuries, suspensions and cup-tied players, it was Rainworth who appeared the hardest hit as their threadbare squad included a number of players carrying injuries.
However, it would be wrong to use this as an excuse, as Carlton’s attack of Sam MacVicar, Aaron Hooton and Anton Robinson would have been more than a match for most teams on the night, and so it proved.
The night started well for Rainworth and from a defensive mistake they broke on goal.
But, as Matt Bowles shaped to shoot, onrushing keeper Jonathon Viscosi brought him down for a penalty and a yellow card.
Jamie Clarke’s well-taken penalty was brilliantly saved by Viscosi, but he was unable to hold on to the ball and Clarke scored from the rebound.
Any hopes of Rainworth pushing on for victory were ended three minutes later, when the ever-dangerous MacVicar’s fierce shot flew in off the post.
It was also the end of Bowles’s night as he was unable to run off the injury, sustained when fouled for the penalty and was substituted minutes later by Jason Gregory.
Carlton’s rampant attack continued to dominate and it would be only be a matter of when, and not if, they scored again.
In the 20th minute Hooton beat two defenders as he drove into the area and Gregory’s attempted tackle resulted in the referee awarding a penalty.
It was Hooten himself who took the penalty, and his well-placed shot comprehensively beat James Martin in the Rainworth goal.
It was nearly all Carlton now and they nearly increased their lead as MacVicar’s flick-on was squandered by Robinson when well placed.
In the final minutes of the half Rainworth did mount an attack as Ricky Hanson found Jack Hawkins, whose whipped cross didn’t get the touch it needed. The half ended with Rainworth fortunate to be only trailing by the single goal.
That statistic changed in the 48th minute when Ben Flynn put in an inch-perfect cross and Hooten’s powerful header gave Martin no chance.
As the game restarted the floodlights failed and it took another 11 minutes for the game to restart.
It had no effect on Carlton’s ambitions and in the 52nd minute they scored again as Robinson converted Jordan Villums cross.
Rainworth were beginning to wilt under the pressure and in the 58th minute they brought on Jordan Claxton for Scott Rogers.
But Carlton continued to press and Robinson picked his spot for the fifth
The game for Rainworth was now becoming one of damage limitation and Martin made a brilliant save as he tipped Hooton’s goal-bound effort round the post. Shortly afterwards Hawkins was shown a yellow card for a late challenge.
Rainworth did have the occasional attack and in the 65th minute were unlucky not to score when Hawkins shot hit Lee Torr with the keeper well beaten.
Still Carlton pushed forward and MacVicar’s cross was headed just wide by the ever-dangerous Hooton. This was quickly followed by a MacVicar shot that whistled over the bar, with Martin well beaten.
As the game neared its climax, Torr’s shot beat Martin and the upright in quick succession.
When the sixth goal came it was something of an anti-climax as Daniel Elliot’s effort slipped through Martin’s fingers and, to his horror, into the net.
There was still time for Rainworth’s Clarke to score a consolation goal and Damien Magee to pick a yellow card.
The game ended with the impressive Hooton’s shot being cleared off the line by Mark Dudley, who had played most of the second half carrying an injury.
The final 6-2 scoreline in no way flattered Carlton who, on the night, were just too good for a well beaten and battle weary Rainworth.
RAINWORTH MW: Martin; Hanson; Coupe; Lloyd; Edridge; Dudley; Rogers (Claxton 58); Magee; J. Clarke; Hawkins; Bowles (Gregory 15). Sub not used: Longstaff.
Referee: Hristo Karaivanov
WRENS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Jamie Clarke.