Late surge wins it as luck favours Wrens in Brigg six-pointer

Rainworth Miners Welfare skipper Craig Mitchell.
Rainworth Miners Welfare skipper Craig Mitchell.

Thankfully the bounce of the ball favoured Rainworth in their big six-pointer last night as the Wrens beat visiting Brigg Town 4-2.

This Evo-Stik Division One South fixture was a game neither side could afford to lose in their fight to maintain their step four status.

With so much at stake it was to prove a tetchy affair with bookings and both sides having periods of dominance, the result being in doubt up to the final whistle.

Rainworth eventually came up with three goals in the last seven minutes to snatch victory after twice trailing.

From the kick-off it was Rainworth who completely dominated the early play with Dean Freeman almost giving them the lead as early as the second minute only for his shot to be blocked on the line.

It was Freeman again in the third minute whose goal-bound free kick was brilliantly tipped over by Jody Barford.

From the resultant corner Tommy Hannigan’s flick-on went just past the far upright with Barford merely a spectator.

The sixth minute saw Jamie Brown shoot on the turn, but it was always clearing the bar and a Rainworth goal seemed only a matter of time.

Football, however, has a habit of producing the unexpected and in the seventh minute when Brigg Town’s Elliot Broughton cut in from the right, there seemed no danger.

As the white shirts parted, his shot on goal beat the despairing dive of Liam Roberts and against the run of play Brigg had taken the lead.

Minutes later a Brigg cross flashed across the Rainworth goal and they were fortunate to clear, when a touch would have surely given Brigg a second goal.

Rainworth responded when a Freeman header was cleared off the line as both sides were guilty of giving the ball away as they strived to gain the upper hand.

As the tackling got more intense Rainworth’s Matt Millns and Hannigan found their way into the referee’s notebook.

Rainworth eventually got on the scoresheet when in the 31st minute Jamie Brown ran at the Brigg defence and his cross found Craig Mitchell, who scored in the far corner.

Brigg hit back and Joe Lightowler’s shot in the 37th minute was saved by Roberts at the expense of a corner.

Then a piece of good fortune as the corner struck Alistair Asher and fell kindly for Laurence McKay who gratefully converted the chance to once again put Brigg in front.

The scores should have been levelled in the final minute of the half when Alex Ford set up Jamie Brown, but when it seemed a certain goal, Barford somehow managed to save it.

It was therefore Brigg who went in with a 2-1 lead, after a half in which Rainworth had created more chances, but in a tense encounter had failed to convert them, giving Brigg the upper hand.

Rainworth replaced the injured Asher at half-time with Alton Rennalls and in the 56th minute he put Mitchell through on goal only for a last ditch tackle to defuse the chance.

Rainworth nearly had a piece of good fortune when Matt Jones’s cross was almost put into his own net by a Brigg defender.

A minute later Mitchell had a great chance, but he put it well over the bar as Rainworth pressed for the equaliser.

Rainworth brought on Will Rawdon for Jones and in the 63rd minute Ford’s goalbound shot was blocked for a corner.

It was Rawdon’s free kick that created the next opportunity, but Freeman headed it wide of the post and then Hannigan shot over the bar.

Brigg were unlucky not to increase their lead when Theo Brown put the ball into Leigh Hutchinson’s path only for his shot to beat Roberts, but rebound off the post back into his arms.

Then a piece of good fortune and Rainworth were level, when in the 83rd minute Freeman’s long ball into the area beat everyone and Barford could only help it into the net.

Rainworth took the lead for the first time in the 87th minute when Rawdon’s inch-perfect free kick was brilliantly headed in by Alex Ford.

In the final minute Brigg brought everyone up for a corner, it was cleared upfield and Aaron Richards had the simplest task of placing the ball past Barford to confirm the victory.

Both sides will have felt they should have won this match, but in reality a long winter fighting for survival awaits them both.

RAINWORTH: Roberts; Asher (Rennalls); T. Brown; Hannigan; Millns; Freeman; Jones (Rawdon); Camm; J. Brown (Richards); Ford; Mitchell. Sub not used: J. Andrews.

REFEREE: Phillip Hardisty.