A Jack Hawkins goal saw Rainworth MW bounce back from last weekend’s heartbreak to win 1-0 at improving Bedworth in the Evo-Stik NPL Division One South last night.
A tough away match against a Bedworth team that were starting to move away from the relegation places was a big ask for the Wrens after Saturday’s last minute capitulation for a draw against Mickleover.
Rainworth made one change from Saturday’s line-up, Kieran Coupe coming in for the injured Jason Gregory.
The game in the early stages was mainly contested in the middle of the park and the greatest threat to Rainworth came from them playing too much football in the wrong areas.
In the last couple of games, since the introduction of youth, Rainworth have lost the fear factor and have re-found their passing game.
Bedworth also showed why they are turning around their season as a neat Blenkinsopp flick found Bevan, but Jobe Shaw was equal to it and cleared.
In the 17th minute Rainworth almost opened their account as Mark Dudley’s cross found the head of Ashley Longstaff, but he put his header just wide.
With the battle for supremacy being fought in midfield, neither side carried a goal threat.
Tristram Whitman’s spectacular overhead kick from Regan Edridge’s long throw failed to trouble the keeper and at the other end Rowe’s fiercely hit shot was always going away from the goal.
Just as it seemed that we would reach half-time without a goal, out of nothing Rainworth had the ball in the Bedworth goal.
It came from a Martinez error as he failed to gather Longstaff’s fierce shot and, as he scrambled to recover, Jack Hawkins forced the ball home.
The home side surrounded the referee claiming it had been kicked out of the keeper’s arms, but the referee awarded the goal, deeming the keeper didn’t have control of the ball.
In what followed Martinez appeared to push the referee and can count himself lucky only to see yellow and not red for the incident.
The whistle went for half-time with Rainworth leading 1-0 after a first 45 minutes of only half chances and, in truth, which neither had really done enough to be in front.
The second half was much more frenetic, and it was Bedworth who nearly scored in the 47th minute as Branch’s free-kick just flashed the post, with James Martin at full stretch.
The next chance fell to Rainworth as Coupe’s cross was flicked goalwards by Longstaff, only for Martinez to tip it over the bar.
Rainworth were now starting to create the better of the chances when firstly Longstaff and then Callum Lloyd put shots wide.
Then Sam Saunders found Tristram Whitman only for his first time shot to go wide.
Bedworth also created some half-chances, but the Rainworth defence were in a miserly mood and snuffed them out.
Rainworth were probably fortuitous to be in the lead in the first half, but it was now Bedworth’s goal that lived a charmed life as Rainworth failed to score with three gilt edged chances in five minutes.
The first beggared belief as Hawkins set up Longstaff, whose first attempt was blocked by Martinez but as it fell at his feet and, with the goal at his mercy, he inexplicably put it wide.
A minute later only a desperate tackle prevented Longstaff converting yet another Hawkins cross. Then just as it seemed Saunders had scored, Rowe somehow managed to clear it off the line.
Yet another fine move featuring Edridge and Hawkins sliced through the Bedworth defence but, with the goal once again at their mercy, three players in quick succession failed to add the final touch.
In the 79th minute Longstaff was replaced by Matt Bowles as they continued to push for the killer goal.
The game was becoming stretched and, although both sides were creating chances, it was Rainworth who were creating the chances that should have resulted in goals.
There was just time for Danny Williams to make his debut, replacing Hawkins, before the referee blew for full-time.
Whereas on Saturday Rainworth couldn’t hold out, this time they did and in all honesty should have won by more than the one goal margin.
The old heads in the side are leading by example and the youngsters are growing up fast, as they are now turning their competitiveness into victories.
RAINWORTH: Martin, Edridge, Dudley, Lloyd, Shaw, Saunders, Coupe, Magee, Longstaff (Bowles 79), Whitman, Hawkins (Williams 90). Subs not used: Rogers, Rickards, Gregory.
Man of match: Jobe Shaw.