FOOTBALL: Market Rasen rue missed opportunity at Nettleham

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Nettleham 3-1 Market Rasen Town

Market Rasen missed out on an opportunity to move further up the Lincolnshire Football League table on Saturday, producing a below par performance at near neighbours Nettleham.

Rasen introduced new signing Danny Hargreaves into the starting line-up and the former Grantham Town wide man replaced the unavailable Jason Hall. Drew Norburn also made a welcome return to the centre of defence after a short period out with a troublesome ankle.

On a bumpy surface and with a strong wind blowing down the slope, it was never going to be a day for slick passing and both sides struggled to engage any long periods of possession.

The wind made it difficult for Rasen to clear their lines and strong defending from the home side meant James Bennett had his work cut out attempting to hold the ball up in the Rasen front line.

Rasen squandered possession from a throw in down the right hand side forcing them to retreat to the edge of their own penalty area. The lively Josh Bowden received the ball with his back to goal and his neat turn and shot beat Dale Christie for the opener midway through the first half.

A neat interchange between Lowman and Guy Smith saw Smith find enough space on the right flank to cross for the on rushing Bennett, but good defending prevented him from getting enough contact on the ball to trouble the home keeper.

Just before half time Rasen fell further behind when too much space was afforded to Nettleham’s Burgess on the edge of the penalty area and he too finished neatly past Christie for the second goal.

Whilst the score line somewhat flattered the home side, Rasen had rarely threatened. However, this was always going to be a game of two different halves dictated by the wind.

Danny Hargreaves jinked his way into the home penalty area as Rasen pressed, but when he was felled by what looked like a trip the referee waved play on.

Indeed this summed up Rasen’s luck on the day and they fell further behind when caught on the break by Jack Darby, who beat the Rasen offside trap, latching on to a long ball from defence to calmly stroke the ball past Christie.

Aaron Mettam and Steve Adcock were brought on to freshen things up for Rasen, who spent the remainder of the game in the home half looking to reduce arrears.

A free kick on the left hand side of the penalty area allowed Danny Hargreaves the opportunity to open his account when he curled the ball into the far corner making the score 3-1.

The home side, although defending deep in their half, reduced Rasen to long shots that failed to test the home keeper.

Tempers flared when Mettam found himself on the end of a heavy challenge sustaining a nasty foot injury. Scott Lowman found himself once more having his name taken when in the final minutes when the referee booked him for persistent offending.

On reflection this was an opportunity missed by Rasen and they must regroup for this Saturday’s trip to strugglers Humbertherm for a 2pm kick off.