Wrens’ abysmal start goes on

Rainworth MW v Lincoln Utd. Neil West
Rainworth MW v Lincoln Utd. Neil West

Rainworth’s abysmal start to the season continued on Monday with a 5-0 defeat at Sheffield to follow Saturday’s 2-0 home loss to Lincoln United.

They have now conceded 15 goals in the four NPL matches they’ve played, and in three of the four the opening goal has been conceded within the first four minutes.

They started Monday’s game well and were on the front foot when in the fourth minute a poor Sheffield backpass almost gifted Craig Mitchell a goal.

Inexplicably they allowed their opponents to go straight down the other end and hat-trick hero Matt Roney coolly slotted home his first goal.

Still Rainworth came forward and in the 11th minute a fine through ball by Danny Williams found Mitchell, but he pulled his shot wide when well placed.

Once again Sheffield went straight down the other end and only a fingertip save by Neil West prevented a goal.

Rainworth’s Achille’s heel is ball retention and far too often they put team mates under pressure with poorly directed and misplaced passes which once again proved terminal.

In the 30th minute Rainworth’s Steve Owens was through on goal, but his attempted lob was well smothered by Joe Green in the Sheffield goal.

The 34th minute saw Chris Hewitt set up Mitchell, but his effort went wide.

Once again Sheffield went straight down the other end and, as James Gregory beat a couple of defenders, West saved his goal-bound effort with his legs at the expense of a corner.

The respite was only short-lived as the corner found Brandon Cardwell unmarked and his 35th minute header found the back of the net to double their lead.

It took Sheffield just two minutes to win back the ball and threaten the Rainworth goal and it was that man Roney who scored with a simple chance. Those two goals in a two minute spell all but ended any chance of a Rainworth comeback.

Just to make certain, Rainworth gifted them their fourth four minutes later when the ball was inexplicably passed towards West, only for Joel Perkins to get there first.

West clattered into him and the penalty and booking were never in doubt. Up stepped Roney to convert the penalty and earn a well-deserved hat-trick, if somewhat aided by Rainworth’s naivety.

In the last minute of the half Rainworth almost pulled a goal back as Owens’ shot went across the face of the goal and Hewitt was just unable to divert it in.

Yet again Sheffield went straight down the other end and West saved from Ashley Longstaff with his legs.

The referee brought the half to a close with Sheffield leading by 4-0 and the game ended as a contest.

The second half wasn’t as frenetic but, whether that was because Rainworth had improved or Sheffield were content with a four goal cushion, it was difficult to say.

In the 57th minute Rainworth made a double substitution, bringing on Sam Stretton and Kieran Coupe for Gary Atkins and Scott Rogers.

There were still chances at either end as Joel Purkiss had his fierce shot saved by West’s legs and Longstaff hit one just wide. At the other end Owen put Mitchell through but Green managed to save it at the expense of a corner.

In the 73rd minute Rainworth made their final substitution when Dean Short came on for Tristram Whitman.

Shortly afterwards Longstaff appeared to have increased Sheffield’s lead only for the ball to have struck the sidenetting.

It was now Rainworth’s turn to go straight down the other end where Mitchell wasted a glorious opportunity to get Rainworth on the scoresheet.

A minute later and Sheffield’s Gregory beat two defenders and put his shot out of West’s reach and into the corner for the fifth goal.

Rainworth have little time left to learn the harsh realities of football at this level or one of this year’s relegation places will be decided, if it hasn’t already, well before Christmas.

WRENS: West; Baugh; Williams; Gregory; Charlesworth; Rogers (Stretton); Atkins (Coupe); Hewitt; Whitman (D. Short); Mitchell; Owens. Sub not used: G. Short.

REFEREE: Jason Tyas.

WRENS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Craig Mitchell.

On Saturday, the Wrens had gone down to a disappointing home defeat against a Lincoln side expected to be in the relegation mix.

In the 25th minute a momentary lack of concentration and a strike of sheer class changed the whole nature of the game.

Lincoln’s Glyn Cotton played the corner to the edge of the penalty area and Andy Toyne hit a fierce drive that gave Neil West no chance for the opening goal.

Rainworth made a major effort to get back into the game after the break, but it all came to nothing as from a throw in the 64th minute the ball found Toyne and, after evading a couple of tackles, he slotted the ball into the far corner, once again giving West no chance.