Cup Tie Goes the Distance
No classic but a nail-biting finish!
After Saturday’s meeting between the sides had ended in a 2-2 draw with both sides having periods of dominance, tonight’s match was at times more like an error strewn pre-season friendly than a full-blooded Notts Senior Cup tie!
Clipstone had the better of the first half and Rainworth the second, with Rainworth finishing the stronger in the thirty minutes of extra time.
Whilst the game itself had been error strewn the penalty shoot-out was class and it took sixteen penalties before a winner could be declared.
Rainworth started the game on the front foot and created the first effort on goal in the 3rd minute when Jordan Claxton’s run and cross was met by Nick Langford but his effort was wide.
On 7 minutes Rainworth had to replace Connor Griffin who had sustained a hamstring injury with Declan Brewin.
The 8th minute saw Rainworth at their most frustrating as they almost gifted Clipstone an opener and a minute later Richard Patterson’s effort just went over.
It set the pattern for a half in which Rainworth seemed to be doing their level best to help Clipstone score and for their part Clipstone appeared either unable or unwilling to oblige.
Clipstone went close in the 11th minute when only a last-ditch tackle by Rob Ludlam diffused the threat and a minute later Michael Trench put a good chance wide.
Rainworth’s good fortune didn’t last and a flowing Clipstone move saw Trench set up Liam Royles for the opener.
A couple of minutes later Rainworth almost equalised from Barnett’s corner and this was quickly followed when Brewin outpaced the defence but his cross was intercepted.
Rainworth continued to provide Clipstone with chances and Trench almost capitalised a minute later. They almost succeeded in giving away a second on 23 minutes but Royles was unable to take advantage putting his effort wide of the upright when well placed.
Rainworth did threaten occasionally and on 30 minutes Matt Sykes put Langford through but his shot lacked pace and was easily gathered by Andy Francis.
Minutes later they came very close to an equaliser when Brewin set up Harry Bamforth and Francis was relieved to see his well struck effort flash past the wrong side of the post.
Clipstone continued to squander their opportunities and on 35 minutes Royles with the goal at his mercy snatched at the chance and it went wide.
The final minutes of the half saw Rainworth start to get into a game that with their help Clipstone should have been more than the one goal in front.
The second half started as the first half ended and in the opening minute Nathan Forbes was allowed to meander into the Rainworth penalty area seemingly unchallenged, fortunately his finish was more like a pass back than a shot.
Rainworth at last began to put a passage of play together and Clipstone were fortunate when Brewin’s cross was struck on the volley inches wide of the upright by Sykes.
On 52 minutes Andrew Fox became the latest Clipstone player to squander a chance when well placed, a trend they were to be made to rue as Rainworth began to get on top.
The equaliser almost came in the 62nd minute when Claxton’s cross was headed just the wrong side of the upright by Bamforth, it signalled Rainworth’s second substitution with Julian Topliss replacing Langford.
With Rainworth now in the ascendency Barnett and Topliss went close as Clipstone were forced to defend their slender lead.
On 73 minutes Sykes produced a piece of class when he picked the ball up in midfield and hit an absolute screamer into the bottom corner giving Francis no chance for the equaliser.
Clipstone’s chances were becoming scarcer but the end-product remained the same as Trench’s effort was well wide.
Rainworth were forced into their final substitution on 77 minutes when the injured Bamforth was replaced by Bradley Maturin-Drew.
Rainworth were now the side pushing for the winner and Sykes almost got it on 79 minutes but his effort was blocked on the line with Topliss’s follow-up just over.
A minute later it was Barnett’s header from a corner that went just over the Clipstone cross-bar.
Clipstone did have one final chance in normal time as Rainworth gifted Josh Nodder, but as with their previous chances they were unable to capitalise.
The first period of extra-time saw Clipstone continue to squander their opportunities as Nodder once again pulled his effort well wide.
It was Rainworth however who were finishing the game the stronger and in the 103rd minute Sykes should probably have done better when he blasted his effort well over with the goal beckoning.
Into the second period of extra-time and it was now all Rainworth and they almost scored in the 114th minute when Barnett’s deflected free-kick was tipped over by Francis.
Two minutes later and the Clipstone goal led a charmed life as firstly Topliss effort hits the post and Maturin-Drew’s follow-up is blocked on the line.
This pattern continued to the end of normal play as both Topliss and Maturin-Drew came close to the winning goal.
If the 120 minutes had lacked continuity by both sides the penalty shoot-out was a classic and it took sixteen penalties to decide the tie in Rainworth’s favour.
After conversions by Topliss, Maturin-Drew, Brewin, Barnett, Sykes, Herbert and Townsend, it was left to captain Phil Buxton to score the winning penalty after Clipstone had missed theirs.
It was a cruel way to lose but Clipstone will look back at their missed opportunities, whilst Rainworth found some rythmn in the end and just about deserved the win.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend; Adlington; Griffin (Brewin); Bamforth (Maturin-Drew); Buxton; Ludlam; Herbert; Barnett; Langford (Topliss); Claxton; Sykes. Sub (not used): Poole.
Referee: Mr. Andrew Dallison.
Man of the match: Jordan Claxton.