With both sides competing for the Notts Senior Cup in just over a week, Monday’s 1-1 NPL Division One South draw was an opportunity for Rainworth or Carlton to gain the advantage in this Evo-Stik encounter.
Sadly that was never going to happen with both sides suffering from injuries, cup-tied players and suspensions that would exclude players from next week’s final and it is anticipated that next Tuesday’s line-ups for that final will be much changed.
Visitors Carlton kicked with the strong wind at their backs, but it was Tristram Whitman who had the first effort for Rainworth, his shot being blocked.
In the seventh minute there was a coming together between Aaron Hooten and Regan Edridge, but the referee waved play on.
It took until the 14th minute for a shot from either side to reach a keeper, when Alex Troke’s long range effort was easily gathered by James Martin.
This was quickly followed by a Kameron Campbell’s glancing header going well wide of the Rainworth goal.
The game was being played in midfield with very few opportunities and Billy Bennett’s long range effort, more in frustration than hope, barely reached Martin.
At the other end a Scott Rickards free kick was helped on by Whitman and Jonathon Viscosi gathered it at the second attempt.
The strong wind meant most of the play was in Rainworth’s half and in the 29th minute Carlton almost broke the deadlock as Hooten’s shot was headed off the line by Mark Dudley.
A couple of minutes later he should have tested the keeper as he broke through but he wasted the clear opportunity.
In the final minutes of the half, Rainworth’s Rickards put Jack Hawkins through, but his shot was deflected for a corner. From the corner the ball was headed into the net by Dudley, but to Carlton’s relief it was disallowed for a foul on the keeper.
That was the final action of a half, played for the most part in the Rainworth half, but in truth neither side carried the firepower to inflict any damage.
The first action of the second half saw Carlton’s substitute Lee Torr’s shot well saved by Martin at the expense of a corner.
The breakthrough came for Rainworth in the 59th minute when Damien Magee put Whitman through and his shot across the keeper found the far corner.
However, it took just six minutes for the equaliser, straight from a Monty Python sketch, when as Callum Lloyd cleared the ball, it struck Bennett and looped up and over Martin into the far corner of the net.
In reply Rainworth almost conjured up a wonder goal as, after a neat passing move, Matt Bowles’ pass was volleyed well over the bar by Hawkins.
In the 64th minute Rainworth brought on Dan Williams for Bowles and he was found by Rickards, but his shot was blocked for a corner.
From Hawkins’ corner Edridge headed just over when well placed.
The 75th minute nearly saw a bizarre own goal as Bradley Nunn’s back pass from the halfway line was miscontrolled by Visconi and, to his relief, went inches past the post.
Then came another comedic moment, showing just how misunderstood the offside rule is, when the assistant flagged Sam McVicar offside as he moved towards the ball from an offside position.
The referee, however, seeing Munn run through from an onside position, waved play on and only a goal line clearance by Jobe Shaw prevented a score.
The game ended all square and if the finishing next week matches this, everyone could be in for a long night.
RAINWORTH MW: Martin, Hanson, Dudley, Lloyd, Shaw, Edridge, Bowles (Williams 64), Magee, Rickards, Hawkins, Whitman. Subs not used: Gregory, Coupe, Rogers, M. Clarke.
REFEREE: Steve Meredith.
WRENS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Callum Lloyd.
On Saturday Rainworth had fought out a 0-0 NPL draw at Chasetown.