Cup final heartbreak for Market Rasen & Louth
Their opponents, who were recently promoted to National League Two, were not at full strength, but still presented a formidable challenge.
The weather was not conducive to running rugby, but an early break from centre Rob Batterbury sliced through the Scunthorpe defence to put Rasen on the front foot.
As play moved on, Scunthorpe conceded a penalty in front of their posts and hooker Tom Alldridge slotted the kick against his former club.
The joy was short lived when Rasen made a hash of receiving the restart, and as the ball broke loose, Scunthorpe took full advantage to storm up field.
Despite some valiant defence, Scunthorpe worked the ball wide for hooker Gareth Mist to score close to the corner.
The elements dictated play, calling for close forward driving as both sides gave as good as they got without gaining the advantage.
In the 33rd minute, a quick low throw to the front of a lineout caught Scunthorpe unawares.
The forwards drove the ball on over their opponents’ line for Leigh Dearden to touch down.
Alldridge judged his conversion to perfection using the tail wind to send the ball sailing through the uprights from wide out for a 10–5 lead.
The second half began in much the same way as the first had ended with both sides vying for an opening, but Scunthorpe having the territorial advantage.
Steve Johnson’s well-struck penalty brought Scunthorpe to within two points of Rasen with plenty of time left.
This was quickly followed by a strong run from Kieran Bournes who left the Rasen defence in tatters, but the Red and Greens regrouped with tenacity and doggedness to hold up the attack close to their line and work their way out of the danger.
This seemed to galvanise Rasen who enjoyed a long spell of possession, but Scunthorpe’s defence stood firm and cleared their lines when Rasen conceded a penalty.
Scunthorpe pushed deep into opposition territory and with four minutes left, Rasen hearts were crushed as the pressure told and Scunthorpe were awarded a penalty. Johnson’s kick put his side one point ahead.
Rasen threw caution to the wind, but as the game opened up, Scunthorpe counter-attacked and former Rasen junior Steve Parker put the match out of reach as he glided in under the posts to leave Johnson with a simple conversion.
Scunthorpe were worthy winners, with a watertight defence, but Rasen can be proud of their efforts as they remained competitive for the full 80 minutes.
If they can recreate this when the new season dawns they will reap the rewards and the phrase ‘relegation battle’ can become a distant memory.
Rasen: C. Starling, Alldridge, Cole (Haig), Mills (Crowe), Chamberlin, L. Dearden, Pryer, D. Starling, M. Starling, Norman (Beasley), P. Everton, A. Dearden, Batterbury, Stephens (Berger), Goodwin. Subs not used: Seward, Southwell.