FOOTBALL: Rasen crash out of Junior County Cup

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Market Rasen Town FC 1–4 Immingham Bluestone

ON a glorious sunny autumn afternoon, Market Rasen FC looked for a repeat of last year’s heroics in the Lincs Junior County Cup.

But unfortunately they fell at the first hurdle losing 4-1, mainly due to poor application of tactics.

A large crowd gathered at Rase Park hoping to see a rejuvenated Rasen team exact revenge for a pre-season friendly against opponent Immingham Bluestone.

The visitors arrived looking in confident mood knowing they had a psychological advantage over their hosts.

Interim manager Ian Williams yet again saw his squad blighted by injuries, illness and unavailability, but was able to call upon the services of Drew Norburn, James Bennett and Jason Hall.

Immingham started the game looking to pressurise the Rasen midfield and defence at every opportunity and it wasn’t long before they created their first chance, but thankfully the long range effort flew high and wide. For the first 30 minutes of the game it was one way traffic with Rasen unable to keep possession and follow a simple game plan given to them prior to the start of the game, it was this failure that found the visitors opening the scoring and doubling their lead in quick succession.

After keeper Dale Christie had turned a snap shot round the post, the resulting corner found the head of an unmarked Bluestone player to power home.

Only a few moments later, having failed to clear their lines, Rasen were yet again on the back foot which saw a free cross from out wide met with yet another unmarked forward to blast the ball into the back of the net.

At this moment Rasen realised that their original game plan could work if put into practice, a through ball over the top of the visitors defence saw Kyle Paul with his first opportunity to break free and just as he was about to strike he was brought down to earn his team a penalty.

Much to the amazement of the crowd the defender went unpunished by the referee and escaped a blatant red card offence.

Bennet stepped forward and saw a weak effort saved by the keeper, but Guy Smith was on hand to score from the rebound to bring Rasen back into the game.

The goal saw the home team have their first real period of pressure and a couple of further chances came and went, a decent save and poor finish keeping the scoreline at 2–1.

Deep into the first half Christie was again on hand to prevent a further goal, but with virtually the last kick of the half a Bluestone midfielder was allowed to advance totally unchallenged to blast home from the edge of the box.

The second half started in similar fashion with Bluestone creating all the pressure and chances, but none of them seriously threatened to extend their lead.

Despite this Drew Marshall playing in his unfavoured role of left back was performing head and shoulders above his teammates and nullifying any danger down the left hand side, but also pushing his team forward at every opportunity.

Williams switched his line–up and brought himself and Andy Brumpton on in hope of trying to reduce the lead.

In patches Rasen did improve and saw a few half chances fall, but none of them really threatened the visitors goal.

Late in the game, with Rasen pushed high up the pitch, Bluestone broke free and finished off any hopes of a comeback, scoring their fourth goal of the afternoon which was soon followed by the final whistle.

At the end of the game Williams bemoaned his team’s performance. He said: “We cannot continue to put ourselves under pressure and give away stupid goals, our failure to clear our lines and the ball in the channels will continue to hurt us until we learn to do the simple things right.

“Hopefully I will have a full squad to choose from next week and will look to freshen things up and rotate the squad where possible.”

Next week sees Rasen continue their cup action when they host Nettleham in the Challenge Cup Quarter Final at Rase Park (2.30pm kick off).