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Rainworth MWFC
Basford United
Tue 7 Feb 19:30 - Cup Full time Attendance 114

Wrens pay the penalty for missed chances

Two second half penalties ended Rainworth's Notts Senior Cup hopes as holders Basford United booked their place in the final.

Former Mansfield striker Ben Hutchinson scored from the spot in the 66th and 88th minutes to keep the Evo-Stik League visitors on course for their third successive triumph in the competition with a 2-0 victory over the threadbare Rainworth squad.
But it could and should have been so different had the Wrens put away a couple of their chances in a first half that they dominated.
They didn't, Basford looked a different side in the second half, and the only consolation for Julian Watts' side was that they left the field with heads held high, and rightly so.
The first half pattern was set in only the second minute when Matty Sykes cut in from the left following a corner and crossed low to the far post where Jack Weatherall couldn't quite connect. The slightest touch would have given Rainworth the early advantage.
And four minutes later Basford were thankful to keeper Jake Wood for a brilliant tip aside to deny a Sykes blockbuster from Phil Buxton's pinpoint angled cross into the box.
In between, former Wrens favourite Kieran Wells might have done better than fire too high from 20 yards following the visitors' first attack.
Generally, though, the home defence had a look of resilience and steel in the face of the high-flying Evo-Stik Division One South side - that is in no small part down to Lincoln City youngster Weatherall who seems to have injected a sense of belief into a rearguard previously prone to conceding goals by the barrow load.
Indeed home keeper Ben Townsend had only routine work to do in the first half, whereas questions were asked of opposite number Wood on several occasions, the United keeper thwarting both Declan Brewin and Matt Harris with saves at feet, while Harris also might have done better than fail to connect with his head onto a fine cross by Jordan Claxton.
Townsend was finally tested in the 35th minute and responded well, tipping Kyle Dixon's close range header from a corner over his bar, but the Wrens were quickly probing again and after Sykes' sparkling run through the middle ended with a tame shot straight at Wood, Tomas Poole fired over the bar with another great chance.
With so many opportunities having gone begging which should really have had Rainworth safely into the final by half time, the fear was that this would come back to haunt them in the second half, and so it proved.
Basford looked a much livelier outfit after the break, and Rainworth had their work cut out to keep them at bay.
Weatherall took one for the team when he was booked for a trip on Dixon five minutes into the half, but the Wrens still looked to push forward when they could, and Nick Langford, a half time substitute for Brewin, was next to be not quite able to connect with Claxton's low cross with the goal at his mercy.
But the deadlock was broken in the 66th minute. Jamie Walker laid the ball off for Robbie McNicholas, who was tripped in the box by the hitherto impressive Connor Griffin, and Hutchinson sent Townsend the wrong way from the spot.
Wood was still having to earn his corn though, even if he was far less busy in the second half, and another save at the feet of Harris was at the expense of an injury which required treatment before he could resume.
Wells should have punished his old club seven minutes from time but instead of shooting he tried to set up Hutchinson and miscued his pass.
Wood denied Harris again with a ;point blank save a couple of minutes later as Rainworth went looking to force extra time.
But it was all over in the 88th minute when Weatherall marred his man of the match display by conceding a penalty with a trip, and Hutchinson lashed his second spot kick into the net giving Townsend no chance to see his side into the final.
RAINWORTH: Townsend, Ludlam, Claxton, Buxton, Griffin, Weatherall, Brewin (Langford ht), Herbert, Harris (Mansell 88), Poole, Sykes. Sub not used: Watts.
BASFORD: Wood, McNicholas, Walker, Smith, Carr, Meikle, Grayson (Grantham 62), Dixon, Wells, Hutchinson, Shannon-Lewis (Bennett 62). Subs not used: Howell, Bertram, Labban.
REFEREE: Mark Tinsley.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jack Weatherall.

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