Market Rasen Town 2-0 Horncastle Town
Horncastle Town were the latest visitors to Rase Park for what on paper looked an intriguing Lincolnshire Wolds derby.
With both sides battling against inconsistency a decent crowd were treated to a typical derby encounter on a crisp sunny day at Rase Park, with the playing surface again in a good condition despite recent heavy rain.
Rasen were again forced to tinker with their line-up with veteran custodian Dale Christie returning. Ryan Penniston, unavailable this week, was replaced by debutante Dom Revill at centre half.
Revill, a former Lincoln United and Stamford AFC defender had been a target for Rasen all year, and finally made his return to the game after a long period out through injury. Jason Hall joined Kyle Paul on the flanks as Rasen adopted the traditional 4-4-2 formation.
The visitors, who have a number of players out through injur,y included former Lincoln Moorlands striker Daniel Bent in their attack.
Early exchanges saw Rasen place plenty of pressure on the visitors goal with Ed Bruntlett’s long throws causing more than one goalmouth scramble.
Controversy struck after 15 minutes when a mix up on the edge of their own area saw a visiting defender roll the ball past his own on rushing keeper after some pressure from striker James Bennett.
The ball trickled towards the line with the keeper backpedaling and sliding the ball to kick it clear, but not, according to the linesman, before the ball had crossed the line given Rasen the lead.
Horncastle hotly disputed the decision which saw one of the players receiving a caution for his appeal.
As has been the case for most of the season the visitors hit back immediately. A hopeful ball into the Rasen area from the right wing saw Ed Bruntlett and his marker contest the cross, only for Bruntlett adjudged to have pushed his challenger and concede the softest of penalties.
However, the visitors were unable to capitalise on this good fortune as the resulting kick was blasted high over Dale Christies cross bar.
This did spark the visitors into action and for the remainder of the half Dale Christie and his defenders were the busiest.
Christie, having his best game so far this season, was called upon on numerous occasions to narrow the angle and block at the feet of on rushing Horncastle attackers.
At the other end James Bennett created an opening for himself, but his weak effort never troubled the visitors goal.
Horncastle would have been disappointed that they had not got to half time on level terms, but for once a little bit of luck had been enjoyed by the home side.
It would be fair to say that while honours were even in the first period, Rasen dominated the second.
Skipper Joe Osbourne led the way, marshalling his troops and his swashbuckling midfield play was ably assisted by Scott Lowman. This enabled Rasen to play most of the second period in the Horncastle half.
It also meant that wide men Kyle Paul and Jason Hall saw more of the ball and the Horncastle defence were made to work harder. At the back, Revill and Norburn looked solid.
Ed Bruntlet limped off after a decent shift at fullback to be replaced by the returning Drew Marshall, but this didn’t upset Rasen’s solidity and Marshall was responsible for some decent distribution to the front line, but disappointingly Rasen were all too often caught offside.
With 10 minutes remaining, James Bennett broke the Horncastle offside trap and was able to run unchallenged on the Horncastle goal to slip the ball past the keeper and bring some reward for Rasen’s dominance.
Rasen skipper and man of the match Joe Osbourne was delighted with the result. He said: “The lads really dug in today. It wasn’t pretty at times but everyone showed the work rate and effort needed to get the result.
“The back four in particular were superb and because of that we never looked in danger in the second half. If we show the same application over the next run of games we will get our fair share of points.”
The home games keep coming with another interesting encounter next Saturday with former League Champions CGB Humberthern coming to Rase Park for a 2pm kick off. Rasen also welcome Grimsby Boro to Rase Park on December 29 for another 2pm start.