Struggling Rainworth MW’s new-look side couldn’t pull off a win for their new management as they went down 2-1 at home to Chasetown on Saturday.
The game was always going to be difficult against a side who many have tipped to be up there at the end of the season.
A new management team of Gary Sucharewycz and Ian Robinson, appointed this week, and a starting XI with eight new players, gave cause for optimism, but on the day Chasetown proved too good.
The most pleasing factor for the fans was that Rainworth looked once more a team that can compete at the Evo-Stik level, which hasn’t been the case in earlier matches.
However, it will take time for the team to gel and the management to mould them into a unit capable of retaining their current status.
The early exchanges had both sides creating chances, but Rainworth’s Jamie Brown and Grant Ryan and Chasetown’s Nathan Waite and Lee Butler all put their efforts over.
Rainworth had a stroke of good fortune in the 12th minute when Nick Wellecomme broke and his goal-bound shot hit the underside of the bar and was cleared.
In the 14th minute the Chasetown fans were off their feet prematurely celebrating Lee Parson’s shot that appeared to have broken the deadlock only to witness an out of this world reflex save by Harry Andrews.
Such is football that in their next sortie into the Chasetown half in the 15th minute, it was Rainworth who opened the scoring when, from Brad McGowan’s long throw, Chasetown failed to clear and Grant Ryan put the ball in the net.
This was quickly followed by two Alex Ford efforts, the first forcing an excellent save from John Bateman and the second a header from Theo Brown’s cross that went agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Chasetown were just starting to get on top, understandable as they had probably had pre-season and their four previous league games to gel. For Rainworth, though, apart from Thursday’s training session, this was their first game together.
The equalising goal came in the 41st minute when Rainworth failed to deal with a ball that was ping-ponging about in their six yard box and Waite just got his head to it before a retreating Andrews, who unfortunately was impeded by one of his own players.
There were no further chances as the referee blew for half-time to end 45 minutes in which Rainworth could be well satisfied with their efforts and an improving Chasetown probably thought they should have been in front.
The second half started with Chasetown on the front foot and in the 47th minute Lee Parsons was unlucky not to score, when his shot beat Andrews only to come back off the upright.
It was Parsons again in the 51st minute who brought yet another fine save from the excellent Andrews.
Rainworth eventually got into the game, but Danny Williams shot in the 55th minute failed to trouble the keeper.
In the 57th minute there were chances at both ends Ryan’s was easily saved and Wellecomme’s was well blocked by Andrews.
In fairness to Rainworth they still continued to probe in a game that Chasetown were starting to boss, but it took another fine save by Andrews from Danny Edwards to keep the scores level.
The stalemate was broken in the 74th minute when Simon Brown found Wellecomme in the area. He held off a couple of defenders and gave Andrews no chance with his firmly-struck shot into the corner.
Rainworth still possessed an occasional attacking threat and Craig Mitchell’s effort was blocked in the 78th minute.
It was Chasetown, however, who almost added to their lead when a rare defensive error presented Wellecomme with a chance, but on this occasion his effort went the wrong side of the post.
The half came to an end with Chasetown deservedly winning 2-1, but in the latter stages paid Rainworth the compliment of time wasting, something no other team has found necessary this season.
Rainworth will take heart from this performance, fielding a team only put together after 48 hours together, and they showed enough today to bring hope for the remainder of the season.
Harry Andrews was deservedly voted man of the match and the 17-year-old keeper, on loan from Notts County showed a maturity beyond his years and on this performance has a bright future in the game.
RAINWORTH: Andrews, McGowan, T. Brown, Freeman, Hannigan, Mitchell, J. Brown (Rennalls), Williams, Ford, Ryan, Whitman (Francis). Subs not used: Gill, Gregory, Coupe.
REFEREE: Timothy Walker.
WRENS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Harry Andrews.