THE scoresheet remained blank after three hours of football between Rainworth and Loughborough this season as December’s goalless draw at Nanpantan Sports Ground was repeated at Kirklington Road.
But at least the Wrens managed to break the Saturday hoodoo which had dogged them since beating Mickleover Sports 4-2 on 8th December.
And the up side was Welfare’s third clean sheet in four matches, the only black mark in those four being the previous Saturday’s defeat by Belper Town.
A goalless draw just about summed up a defence-dominated match in which what few chances were created at either end went begging.
It is fair to say that Rainworth held the edge on opportunities but, although they played some decent football at times in midpark, they were unable to get their customary passing game going for any length of time as the visitors regularly closed them down quickly and allowed them little time on the ball.
Rainworth benefitted from an early kind rebound for Conor Higginson to try a third minute pot at goal but he was taken by surprise and his hurried effort flew way too high.
As Loughborough began to find a bit of joy going forward the Wrens’ back line dealt competently with all they could offer, with Dan White, Mark Camm and Ashley Kitchen all in no mood to allow Danny Davidson and Rob Norris any openings and keeping a shackle on lively wide man Shawn Richards.
Meanwhile at the other end Dynamo keeper Laurie Pearson had to dash out of his box to chest away from Higginson, who then had the ball in the net but the offside whistle had long since sounded.
Pearson’s handling was questionable at times throughout the match, but whenever he failed to catch cleanly he generally managed to fall on the ball and not allow the home side a chance to punish.
The keeper found himself caught in no man’s land in the 23rd minute but Higginson was crowded out before he could get in his shot on a gaping goal, and Pearson survived.
Higginson looked more likely to score nine minutes later when put clear but succeeded only in over-running the ball out of play.
Two minutes before the break it was Loughborough’s turn to be denied a goal when Rob Norris, so often Wrens’ Nemesis since their promotion, turned the ball in only to be judged offside.
Dynamo’s best chance of the match came five minutes into the second half when Ale Barcherini failed to cut out a Norris cross leaving Richards a clear cut chance at the far post, but he miscued horribly high and wide to the home side’s relief.
The impressive White was withdrawn in the 68th minute and Justin Jenkins made his appearance with Ryan Goward dropping back.
Pearson was lucky to see only yellow in the aftermath of an injury to Dynamo skipper Alvin Jarvis in a 50-50 challenge with Higginson, the keeper charging into the affray to dump the Wrens striker on the ground.
When order was restored Adam Wykes was just too high from 25 yards and, with time running out, Camm kept Rainworth in the game with an important block to deny Reece Lester.
But Jenkins almost had the last word in stoppage time, just failing to connect with his head onto fellow sub Adam Kimberley’s cross.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini, Walker, White (Jenkins 68), Camm, Kitchen, Cooksey, Lloyd, Hanson, Higginson (Kimberley 74), J. Holmes, Goward. Sub not used: Burton.
LOUGHBOROUGH: Pearson, Dale-Brown, Young, Blakely, Jarvis (Betts 79), Sibson, Richards, Wykes, Davidson (Langham 75), Norris (Brennan 75), Lester. Subs not used: Henton, Whitman.
REFEREE: Andy Smith of Castleford.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Lee Cooksey.