Hammer-blow for Clay Cross in local derby at revived Renishaw

Clay Cross Town's Joel Holland (left) in a midfield tussle. (PHOTO BY: David Clark)
Clay Cross Town's Joel Holland (left) in a midfield tussle. (PHOTO BY: David Clark)

The short journey to Renishaw Rangers proved to be a hazardous one for Clay Cross Town, who suffered another hammer-blow to their hopes of honours in the Central Midlands League’s North Division.

After two successive defeats, Clay Cross were hoping to get their title push back on track in a local derby against a Renishaw side who had lost ten of their opening 13 league fixtures and leaked no fewer than 93 goals.

But instead they crashed 3-1 as the home team continued a remarkable revival that has them unbeaten now in their last five games since an 11-1 drubbing at Dinnington Town on October 7.

All seemed to be going fine for the Millers when they took a 25th minute lead through captain Joel Holland, whose piercing solo run ended with him firing a shot past goalkeeper Steven Booth. And if they had converted the chances that followed in a period of extreme pressure, they would surely have put the game beyond Renishaw.

But the hosts had billed the game as their “biggest of the season” and were in no mood to surrender as they launched a second-half fightback. A close-range tap-in from Brandon Ashmore pulled them level on the hour, and eight minutes later, Reece Blake got the better of the Clay Cross defence to put them in front.

Clay Cross responded by pushing hard for an equaliser, but it became clear that wasn’t their day when both the woodwork and ‘keeper Booth prevented them scoring.

The outcome remained in the balance until the very last minute when Lewis Price struck the decisive third goal for jubilant Renishaw, who duly climbed out of the bottom three in the table for the first time this season.

As for the Millers, they now sit seventh, fully 12 points behind runaway leaders Harworth Colliery with two games in hand, although they are only five points off Retford and AFC Bentley in joint second place. This Saturday, they play host to mid-table Dinnington at Mill Lane (kick-off 3 pm).