Rainworth MW ended their NPL Division One South campaign as they had started it with an away win as they edged a five-goal thriller 3-2 at sixth-placed Sutton Coldfield.
The home side chose to kick with a very strong swirling wind at their backs as both sides fought to get the upper hand.
In the sixth minute a snapshot by Sutton Coldfield’s Nathan Thompson had James Martin in the Rainworth goal scrambling as it only just cleared the crossbar.
Rainworth, too, had their moments and in the 13th minute Jack Hawkins put in Danny Williams, but the angle was too acute and his shot hit the sidenetting.
Sutton, however, were the masters of their own downfall when two defenders allowed the ball to bounce and Damien Magee nipped between them and put the ball in the corner of the net.
The game ebbed and flowed and in the 24th minute Rainworth’s Kieran Coupe just managed to deflect the ball for a corner with Thompson just about to pull the trigger.
Rainworth were looking solid and, although Sutton Coldfield created the odd chance, it didn’t look like they would score.
That was until the 35th minute. Last week Rainworth were unlucky to concede a goal from a wicked rebound this week Sutton’s equaliser was even more bizarre.
With a strong wind at his back Matt Jackson tried to drive a cross from just inside the Rainworth half, but his mistimed effort ballooned in the air and the strong wind carried over the helpless Martin for the equaliser.
From his team mates’ and the crowd’s reaction as he kicked it and his reaction as it hit the back of the net, it could at best be described as a freak goal.
Then in the 38th minute came a moment of controversy with Williams through on goal.
He appeared to be brought down from behind, and the referee’s decision would be crucial as the defender was the last man and the foul in the penalty area.
However, the referee awarded a direct free kick on the edge of the area, much to everyone’s bemusement.
Unfortunately for Rainworth, assistant manager Matt Clarke vented his fury and was send to the stands for his comments.
Up stepped Jack Hawkins and the free kick was dispatched, giving the keeper no chance, into the top corner to restore Rainworth’s lead.
There was still time for Sutton’s Daryl Taylor to hit his shot-cum-cross just past the far post, and in the final act of the half a fine Rainworth passing move broke down as Tristram Whitman was flagged offside.
At the start of the second half Rainworth brought on Jason Gregory for Coupe, who was still feeling the effects of a couple of heavy challenges in the first half.
The 50th minute saw Whitman put Williams through and Mark Dudley was inches off adding the finishing touch.
To Rainworth’s disdain the strong wind such an asset to Sutton in the first half died down.
Rainworth made a second substitution, bringing Scott Rogers on for Matt Bowles, and it had the desired effect as Regan Edridge just headed Hawkins free kick over the bar.
A minute later it was Edridge again getting onto a Hawkins cross, but this time it was easily gathered by the keeper.
Rainworth’s pressure eventually told when in the 65th minute another piece of hesitation in the Sutton area was punished when Williams deservedly scored their third goal.
The goal seemed to spur Sutton on, they threw caution to the wind and in quick succession, Edride intercepted at the expense of a corner and Martin tipped Lee Evans header over.
At the other end the ever dangerous Williams nearly converted yet another fine passing move only for his shot to hit the sidenetting.
Sutton’s pressure paid off in the 82nd minute when the ball from a corner was contested by a group of players with Thompson managing to get the final touch for the goal.
The last five minutes were frantic with both sides looking to add to their scores, but that was how it remained.
RAINWORTH MW: Martin, Coupe (Gregory 45), Dudley, Lloyd, Shaw, Edridge, Magee, Bowles (Rogers 52), Williams, Hawkins, Whitman.
REFEREE: Alan Sarginson.
WRENS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Regan Edridge.