Ruston Sports 1
Market Rasen Town 2
RASEN resumed their Lincolnshire League campaign with a fine away victory at Ruston Sports on Saturday.
Town had beaten their hosts at Rase Park in December and completed the double of the season with a professional display at Newark Road, Lincoln.
Rasen were without the guidance of manager Andy Brumpton, who was absent due to the birth of his first child born on Friday.
The squad also missed leading scorer Nathan Smith who received recognition for his exploits this year by being selected for the League representative side that won 4-3 at the Birmingham League in Bromsgrove.
Also missing due to work commitments were Drew Norburn, Adam Brumpton and Kyle Paul. This meant a return to the starting line up for James Brothwell to partner skipper Greenbeck at the heart of the back four.
On a frost bitten surface Rasen struggled to find any patter in the early exchanges and Will Bradford in the Rasen goal was the busier of the two keepers.
Ruston deservedly opened the scoring when Rasen were unable to clear an in–swinging centre and the ball was scrambled home by Stokes.
This was the jolt Rasen needed and the remainder of the half was controlled by the visitors. Rasen’s slick passing was too quick for their hosts and the match officials as Coupland was adjudged to be offside when clean through only to be brought back by the linesman’s flag.
Andy Belt showed signs of his early form and a fine move down the left hand side saw his pinpoint cross met on the volley by Ian Williams, which brought a fine save from the home keeper.
A similar move down the left found Coupland twisting and tormenting the home defence, after lifting the ball over his marker he found the on–rushing Belt who sublimely curled the ball around the keeper for the equaliser.
Consistent Rasen pressure brought a succession of corners and skipper Greenbeck will be disappointed not to have increased the score with a header from six yards out.
James Bennett revelling in his right back role in recent weeks continued his fine form with telling passes to the forward line. One of these brought Rasen’s second and subsequent winner.
Bennett threaded an inch perfect pass into the penalty area to veteran Williams whose control and finish rolled back the years.
The home side were reduced to ten men when tempers flared during an off the ball incident, punches were seen to be thrown and the referee took the appropriate action.
The second period saw Rasen continuing their dominance with any of the Ruston attacks being thwarted by Brothwell and Greenbeck.
Jason Hall and Guy Smith were introduced, with Hall in particular providing a threat down the right flank. His pace opened up further chances for Lowman and the impressive Osbourne.
Lowman brought a fine save from the keeper with a strike from distance and Osbourne who flashed wide from the edge of the box.
A final flourish from the home side was again dealt with by the Rasen back line before the referee’s whistle sent the travelling Rasen supporters back down the A46 in a joyful mood.
Next Saturday Rasen welcome league leaders Cleethorpes Town to Rase Park for 2pm kick off. Another fixture on the horizon sees a tough semi–final date in the Lincs Junior Cup against cup favourites Pinchbeck United of the Peterborough League at Rase Park on February 4.