Basford made to Battle
With better finishing it could have been so different
The Notts Senior Cup Semi-Final between Basford United, currently in a play–off place in the Evo-Stik Division One South and Rainworth MWFC currently on a poor run of form in the NECL Premier Division, seemed a foregone conclusion.
The game however was anything but, with Rainworth MWFC taking the game to Basford in the first half albeit with a strong breeze in their favour.
The game was decided by the better finishing, with Basford converting two of their chances, whilst Rainworth were unable to convert any of theirs.
Rainworth dominated the early exchanges and with a strong breeze at their backs they created a chance as early as the opening minute but Liam Morris’s final ball to Liam Theakstone was just deflected for a corner as he was ready to pounce.
Further efforts from Ricky Hanson and Matt Sykes just lacked direction as Rainworth started to discover their good form of earlier in the campaign, the only ingredient missing was the finish.
Rainworth suffered a major blow in the 11th minute when Jack Andrews was unable to continue, having suffered a reoccurrence of the injury that had kept him out of recent games and was replaced by Jamie York.
Basford had their first meaningful effort on goal in the 14th minute but Stuart Hendrie’s effort was always going too high.
In the 20th minute another fine Rainworth move was defused by another last gasp Basford clearance. Minutes later and Morris’s header just cleared the crossbar from a fine ball from Jack Barnett.
It wasn’t all Rainworth and in the 35th minute they had keeper Chris Gill to thank when he made an excellent one handed save from Basford’s Courey Grantham.
Still Rainworth couldn’t find the elusive finish as Morris again put a header just over from Jordan Edridge’s cross and in the final minute of the half, Matthew Thompson’s effort just went the wrong side of the upright.
The second half started with Basford on the attack, having the strong breeze at their backs. It didn’t take them long to open their account when in the 48th minute Eugen Bopp’s cross was met by Mason Rowley’s head and the ball flew into the top corner.
The travelling Rainworth fans must have feared a Basford onslaught, but to their credit Rainworth continued with their passing game and an equaliser always looked possible.
Basford almost got a second when Ashley Grayson’s fine header just went the wrong side of the post.
Rainworth made their final changes as they chased an equaliser bringing on Declan Brewin and Nathan Clarke for Theakstone and York.
However it was Basford who got that vital second goal when after a well worked move Bopp found Fabian Smith who turned and put it into the net from an acute angle.
Rainworth continued to press and they were unlucky in a hectic three minute spell only Basford bodies prevented them getting on the scoresheet.
It was Rainworth who had the last chance of the match when Brewin was unlucky to see his shot beat Saul Deeney only for it to deviate at the last minute and hit the post rebounding to safety.
At the final whistle Basford progressed to the Notts Senior Cup Final but Rainworth must take a lot of credit for pushing their neighbours from Step 4 all the way.
If Rainworth can replicate this performance in their remaining league games and add a finish to some of the chances they create they will have a profitable end to the season.
It had been a very good team performance and this was reflected in the voting for man of the match with a number of players in the frame, it had to be decided in the end by a casting vote.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Gill; Hanson; Smythe; Barnett; Andrews (York/Clarke); Plant; Thompson; J. Edridge; Morris; Theakstone (Brewin); Sykes. Sub (not used): R. Edridge
Referee: Eddie Pidduck
Man of match: Connor Smythe