FOOTBALL: Market Rasen out of cup after extra time with Sleaford

Market Rasen 1 – 2 Sleaford Town Reserves

Rasen entertained Sleaford Town Reserves in the quarter finals of the Supplementary Cup at Rase Park at the weekend.

Having exchanged wins against each other in the league this was always going to be a close fought encounter and so it would transpire when the game ended up with extra time having to be played.

Sleaford arrived with a number of first team players in the squad which added extra pressure on the Rasen squad to perform in front of an expectant crowd gathering in the early spring sunshine.

Manager Ian Williams was able to welcome back Dom Reville and Adam Brumpton into the squad to replace the missing Ryan Penniston and Jason Hall respectively.

The game couldn’t have started any worse for Rasen as unfortunately a defensive mix-up between Reville and Christie in the first minute of the game allowed Holland to slot the ball home from close range to give Sleaford the lead early in the game.

Sleaford continued to control the game and the quality of their first team players was evident for all to see as they continued to press Rasen’s midfield and defence with their pace and movement. At the other end of the pitch forwards Paul, Hargreaves and Brumpton all too often found themselves isolated when in possession which prevented any real threat on the away teams goal.

With Reville and Ed Bruntlett improving as the first half continued, the midfield trio of Osbourne, Bennett and Smith pushed further up field in support and after 30 minutes Rasen leveled the game when a jinking run down the left by Hargreaves was squared to Brumpton, who slid the ball passed the advancing keeper.

For the remainder of the half it was Sleaford who were applying all the pressure, but after a couple of decent saves from Christie and a penalty claim being waved away by the referee, Sleaford were unable to make use of their territorial advantage as the first half drew to a close.

The second half for both teams was a mixture of poor quality and frustration as all too often the officials failed to deal with the crucial decisions, but both teams were all too often guilty of giving the ball away when in the final third of the pitch.

Lack of discipline continued to be a thorn in Rasen’s side when constant free kicks were given away out wide allowing Sleaford to pressure the Rasen goal, but thankfully the defence held firm to send the match into extra time.

In extra time the pattern of the game continued as neither team were able to hold onto the ball long enough to exert any sustained pressure, but with long range efforts from Paul and Bennett both failing to trouble the Sleaford ‘keeper, Rasen looked to be the more positive team.

But, with 10 minutes of the game remaining, poor marking gave Sleaford a counter attack which this time they did not fail to convert when Hollingworth ghosted through to power the ball into the back of the net.

The goal did however invigorate Rasen as they pushed high up the park to try and again level the game. In the final few moments the linesman flagged for what looked to be a stone wall penalty following a challenge on Lowman, but astonishingly the referee waved away the claims and ignored the advice of his fellow official.

All in all a disappointing result, but a visit to local rivals Grimsby Borough on Saturday (3pm kick off) will give Rasen the chance to make a final push towards the end of the season.