Tie decided by a moment of madness
A fairly even Notts Senior Cup tie was decided in the 40th minute when Retford captain James O’Neill was shown a straight red card for a two footed tackle.
The cup tie was played in dry conditions, but the quick drying of a recently waterlogged surface had left it bumpy and the ball difficult to control.
The early exchanges were quite even and it wasn’t until the 5th minute that either side troubled the keepers. It was Retford’s Reece Thompson who broke clear but his shot was well saved by James Martin.
Retford had a period of dominance and then Rainworth began to come to terms with the bumpy surface and forced Retford on the back foot. Rainworth’s Jamie Clarke did get the ball in the Retford goal, but it was rightly disallowed for a foul on the keeper.
Then an incident that almost cost Rainworth a goal, when as they passed the ball upfield it struck the referee and fell into the path of a Retford player. The ball was quickly played to Thompson who was through on goal, Martin was quick off his line and made a fine save.
Rainworth quickly counter-attacked, the ball found Jack Hawkins and his shot went over the keeper and into the far corner to open the scoring. This was the start of a period of Rainworth pressure and in the 32nd minute, Ashley Longstaff’s inviting cross was gratefully deflected into the keeper’s arms.
Then in the 40th minute the incident that sealed the tie, James O’Neill chased back and his two footed challenge left the referee with little choice but to show him a red card. Such was the nature of the tackle that a melee followed and Rainworth’s Longstaff was shown a yellow card for his reaction to the incident.
From the resultant free kick, Retford were further punished as Scott Rickards found Regan Edridge and his downward header was gleefully hit into the net by Clarke. The half-time whistle sounded shortly afterwards with Retford now down to ten men and trailing 2-0.
Rainworth started the second half on the attack and Matt Bowles put Longstaff clear, but his shot cleared the crossbar. Shortly afterwards Retford’s Richard Medcalf was shown a yellow card for another poor challenge.
The game ceased to be a contest in a two minute period when in the 58th minute Bowles found Longstaff whose goal bound shot struck Clarke and found its way into the opposite corner of the goal. A minute later Rickards found Longstaff, whose crisp shot found the bottom corner.
Rainworth were now dominating the game and although Retford still had chances there was to be no way back. The final action of the game saw Hawkins receive a yellow card for a crude challenge, shortly afterwards the referee blew for full time.
RAINWORTH: Martin; Gregory (Rogers 74); Dudley; Lloyd; Varley; Edridge; Rickards; Bowles; Longstaff (Forbes-Swindells 80); Clarke; Hawkins. Sub (not used): Saunders.
Men of match: Regan Edridge & Jack Hawkins