Sleaford Town Reserves 0 Market Rasen Town 1
Market Rasen FC made the journey south of the county to face fellow league strugglers Sleaford Town Reserves.
With the host sports facility only a few years old Rasen arrived expecting to see a good footballing surface, but for some unknown reason the main pitch was not to be used and the game was forced to be played on a pitch which was in worse condition than a village common.
With the club still in search of a new manager, Ian Williams continued to call the shots and with only one change from last week’s starting lineup he was in a confident mood his side could come away with maximum points.
With the returning Guy Smith slotting in alongside influential captain Joe Osbourne and the enthusiastic James Bennet, it was clear from the outset that the game could be won or lost in midfield.
Early in the game, Rasen showed their intent at hitting Sleaford on the break, using the extreme pace of attacking trio Kyle Paul, Chris Bassam and Jason Hall, and it was Bassam who created the first real clear-cut chance when he cut inside from the right only to see his strike cannon into the post and fall to safety.
Pace continued to cause problems for the home team, when in quick succession both Osbourne and Paul saw their efforts fail to hit the target,
Sleaford looked to force their way back into the game, but with Scott Lowman and Jake Wade controlling the centre of defence, keeper Christie was relatively untroubled.
Late in the first half, more good work from full back Matt Rutherford saw Hall break free, but his square ball narrowly missed the advancing Rasen players.
Following some encouraging words at half time, Rasen looked to push forward at every opportunity.
The flow of the game mirrored the first half, with Rasen creating more chances – it was surely only a matter of time before a goal arrived.
But with Paul often caught offside and half chances failing to find the net, frustration crept into the Rasen game. Bassam again saw an effort clip the woodwork and Bennett miss a golden opportunity when Rutherford produced a delightful delivery into the box, it left Rasen wondering what they had to do to score. With Drew Marshall having another solid performance at left back, and Lowman and Wade continuing to outpower their opposite numbers, it was a surprise when Sleaford created their one and only real chance on goal, but Christie was quick on his feet to tip the headed effort over the bar.
Late in the game a Hall long throw caused mayhem in the box, the ball eventually falling for the unmarked Paul to blast the ball into the back of the net, giving Rasen the lead.
In the last few minutes of the game, Sleaford threw everyone forward looking for an equaliser and, once a loud penalty appeal was ignored by the official, Rasen were grateful to hear the final whistle and secure their first clean sheet and first away win of the season.
Following the hard-fought victory, Williams said: “The lads were excellent from start to finish; their attitude and workrate on a disgraceful playing surface was first class. We looked dangerous every time we went forward and solid at the back.
“We have now got a tidy settled squad and with a bit more belief we can get much higher in the table.”
This week sees Rasen host Cleethorpes Town Reserves at Rase Park – 3pm kick off.