RAINWORTH contrived to turn a 2-1 90th minute lead to a 3-2 defeat at Brigg on an afternoon of twists, turns, and a cruel climax for the Wrens.
In conditions more suitable for ducks both sides provided an entertaining match with moments of pure class, only for it to deteriorate in the final minutes into a pantomime starring the villain in black and his two ugly sisters.
Twice Rainworth led, twice Brigg equalised, and then, with a cruel twist, the villian, played by referee Chris Akers, effectively gifted the Zebras the points - aided, it must be conceded, by some lax defending.
In the wettest year on record it came as no surprise that the match was subject to a 9.30 am inspection. Although passing that, the continuous rain meant that a further inspection was necessary before the match could proceed, and then much to the displeasure of the home groundsman.
Both sides took time to adjust to the weather and the state of the pitch, but in the first real attack of the game Rainworth scored a goal of pure class in the eighth minute. Conor Higginson’s pace took him clear of the defence on the right and his fiercely struck cross was dummied by Ian Holmes for Ryan Goward to strike his volley into the corner of the net.
Higginson continued to get the better of the Brigg defence, something he would achieve all match, and in the 12th minute only a fine save by the keeper prevented him from increasing the lead.
Four minutes later Jared Holmes tried to curl his shot into the far corner, only to under-hit it and allow the keeper to save.
Having had most of the play, Rainworth allowed Brigg’s Paul Grimes time to turn, and he needed no second invitation, duly firing in the far corner of the net.
Rainworth continued to use Higginson’s pace and in the 28th minute only a fine save by the keeper once again denied them. Another fine interchange of passes between Ian and Jared Holmes then gave Higginson yet another chance, only once again Brigg’s keeper came to the rescue.
Jared and Ian Holmes once again combined but Brigg managed to block the cross for a corner. That was the last action of an entertaining half which had left Rainworth wondering why they were not in the lead.
The second half started with Brigg having the better of the opening exchanges and Rainworth were struggling to get into the game. Eventually they re-asserted themselves when two crosses were defended for corners. From the second in the 69th minute after the ball ricochet around the six yard box, Kieran Walker headed into the roof of the net.
The game was now end to end, Rainworth’s passing style contrasting with Brigg’s more direct approach.
But just as it seemed that Rainworth would weather the final Brigg onslaught they conceded a needless free kick on the edge of their box. In the 90th minute Paul Grimes struck a peach of a direct shot round the wall and into the top corner of the net.
Although hard to take for the Wrens’ following, a draw would have been a fair result from a game that despite the conditions was full of incident and, in parts, excellent football.
However it was not to be. Christmas would not be the same without a pantomime and a villain. Enter the villain in black who somehow found five minutes of extra time for one substitution and a minor stoppage. Then just as the game was coming to a close he deemed Jared Holmes’s tackle to be a foul even though he had clearly and cleanly won the ball. The resulting free kick was blocked and as the ball was crossed into the area the Rainworth players switched off. Up popped Liam Davis to head home what proved to be the winning goal. There was just enough time for the kick off and the final whistle in a match that neither side deserved to lose.
Rainworth are fast becoming a potent force going forward, but their customary lapses at vital times are giving cause for concern.
RAINWORTH: Barcherini, Walker, Hanson, Camm, Kitchen, Kimberly, I Holmes, Bacon, Higginson, J. Holmes, Goward. Subs not used: Burton, Jenkins, Nshindano.
BRIGG TOWN: Green, Archer, Dudley, Flett, Hellewell, Gee (Davies ht), Dickens, Lee, Grimes, Buttle (Holden 66). Subs not used: Bowsley, Downey, Fenty.
REFEREE: Chris Akers of Rotherham.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Goward.