FOOTBALL: Cleethorpes still too strong for improved Market Rasen side

Cleethorpes Town Reserves 2-0 Market Rasen Town

After last week’s disappointing showing at Ruston Sports Market Rasen’s footballers were dealt another difficult fixture away at last year’s league champions Cleethorpes Town.

Making the challenge even more tougher was the fact that Cleethorpes included three members of their 1st team, with Luke Maskell looking to add to his hat-trick scored at Rase Park earlier in the season.

Rasen were without Drew Norburn, Dom Reville and Adam Brumpton, but were able to include Danny Hargreaves into the starting line up for his second game. Veteran shot stopper Dale Christie and the industrious Jason Hall also made a welcome return.

On a bobbley pitch, Rasen looked to take the game to the home side going with an attacking 4-3-3 formation with Hargreaves, Kyle Paul and Hall providing the pace in the Rasen forward line.

Cleethorpes neat short passing game was quashed in the early stages with skipper Osbourne, Guy Smith and James Bennett working tirelessly, pressing the home side back whilst trying to feed some quality to their front line.

Harshly, Cleethorpes took the lead on the 20 minute mark when Maskell,looking yards offside, finished past Christie, with the Rasen defence remonstrating with the officials.

Dale Christie was on hand to make a couple of fine saves before half time to keep the visitors in the game. One in particular showed why he is still one of the best ‘keepers in the league, diving low to his right when the danger man Maskell looked sure to increase the lead.

Dan Hargreaves was getting more into the game and his hold up play enabled him to bring Scott Lowman into the game at right back, Lowman combined well on a couple of occasions with Hall on the right flank as Rasen looked to put pressure on the home defence.

However, long range strikes from Kyle Paul and James Bennett were dealt with by the home custodian. Spirits were high at half time with Rasen still very much in the game.

Hargreaves again combined well with Hall for the wide man to send a fine cross into the area, only to evade any Rasen attackers.

A series of corners were forced by the visitors but again the aerial threat from Bennett and Penniston was dealt with by the efficient home defence. Hargreaves then brought a save from the home keeper.

As too often this season, defensive hesitancy was again to blame as Oglesby was allowed to fire past Christie with 20 minutes remaining and make any reply from Rasen difficult.

However, rather than crumble as in recent games, Rasen still pressed and asked questions of the Clee’ back line.

The game ended with the score 2-0, but this was a decent performance from a Rasen side that have lacked confidence and belief in recent weeks after an excellent run of results over Christmas.

Rasen skipper Joe Osbourne was upbeat after the game, He said: “The work rate from everyone was there to see which was pleasing as we had let ourselves down last week.

“Cleethorpes are a very decent team but we stuck together and made it difficult for them. We need the same application next week if we are to get a result, we certainly have enough quality.”

Next Saturday cup fever returns to Rase Park when Sleaford Town provide the opposition in the quarter final of the Supplementary Cup. Kick-off at Rase Park is 2.30pm.

Rasen have raised their game when a decent partisan following has been in attendance, so it is hoped the town will come out in force to support the boys. It is certainly a game they are capable of winning after beating Sleaford away from home earlier in the season.