Clinical Clipstone take the spoils.
Not many people would have tipped these sides to be early pace-setters in the league title race.
Whilst Rainworth have yet to play any of the three pre-season favourites, Clipstone have played two and but for a late goal on Saturday would have won both.
The game started at a fast pace with both sides passing the ball around, but it was Clipstone who struck the first blow.
In the 5th minute they broke down the left and an inch perfect pass put Jamal Smith clear and he needed no second invitation to slot the ball home for the opener.
In the 8th minute Ben Bowring was lucky just to get a talking to for his mistimed challenge as Clipstone began to have the better of the possession.
Rainworth’s first opportunity came in the 16th minute but Liam Morris hit his effort well over.
They should probably have equalised in the 20th minute when Morris hit a ball across the area to Matthew Sykes but he put the chance into the side-netting.
Rainworth paid the ultimate penalty for that miss when in the 23rd minute they unnecessarily gave the ball away in a dangerous area and it was quickly played into the path of Dexter Atkinson for the second.
Rainworth had another opportunity minutes later when Morris was through on goal only to be denied by a last ditch tackle.
Then Sykes attempted a spectacular volley but the ball flew well over.
Next it was Lewis Bingham’s turn, but his effort was blocked and in truth the difference between the sides had been the finishing.
Clipstone countered as a Liam Royles effort goes over and then Atkinson when put through hits his effort wide.
The final minutes of the half belonged to Rainworth but Ricky Hanson’s effort goes well over.
Clipstone were fortunate not to concede in the 43rd minute as Hanson appeared in unmarked in the penalty area and somehow Steve Hernandez got some part of his anatomy on his goal-bound shot to divert it for a corner.
They however were not as fortunate in the 44th minute when this time Bowring prodded home the ball after it bounced around the area.
Clipstone just about deserved their half-time lead, but Rainworth had shown they were more than capable in getting back into a game where both sides attempted to play football.
Rainworth came out of the blocks the quickest as the second half began and Morris had his effort blocked by the keeper.
The 51st minute saw the first booking of the game as Bowring was shown a yellow for persistent infringements.
Rainworth should probably have equalised in the 61st minute when Morris was put through, but as he dallied Rob Paling was able to put it out for a corner.
Rainworth brought on Lewis Chambers for Bowring in the 64th minute.
Another close call in the 71st minute when a great run and cross by Matthew Thompson and an audacious back heel wrong foots Hernandez but hits the side-netting.
Rainworth were now dominant, but they lacked composure and their final passes for the most part were wasteful.
Thompson put his effort over and Chambers had a great opportunity when he ran clear on goal but his effort lacked power and was easily saved by Hernandez.
In the 78th minute Rainworth made another substitution bringing on Liam Theakstone for Bingham.
Football has a habit of punishing you for your failings and whilst Rainworth had wasted the majority of their chances, Clipstone had converted theirs.
So it was to be in the 81st minute when Smith had the ball out wide he ran in and hit an absolute peach of a shot giving Nathan Burrows no chance but the third.
There was still time for Sykes effort to be easily saved by Hernandez as the referee blew for time.
There had been a lot to admire about the game, but the difference had been Clipstone’s finishing, on this form everyone will be wary of playing them. As for Rainworth the learning curve continues and with a completely new team they would probably have settled for their league position at present.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Burrows; Hanson; Smythe; Bowring (Chambers); Plant; Campion; Thompson; Dockwray; Morris; Bingham (Theakstone); Sykes. Subs (Not used); Andrews; L. Weaver; Curzon.
Referee: Mark Jones.
Man of the match: Ricky Hanson.