Not there yet!
Rainworth MWFC came with ‘Great Expectations’, but had no answer to Handsworth’s physicality.
In truth the 90 minutes that followed was more like ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’, as Handsworth deservedly ran out 2-1 winners.
Rainworth started the game well and were soon into their passing game as both sides pressed for the ascendency.
It was end to end as lax defending almost presented Handsworth an opportunity at one end and then Liam Morris’s through ball was just too strong for Matt Thompson at the other.
In the 14th minute Bruno Holden met a cross with his head and Rainworth were relieved to see it go the wrong side of the far post.
A minute later and a good break by Declan Brewin set up Sam Dockwray but his effort was blocked.
Throughout the match Rainworth were to struggle at corners and this proved to be their downfall as Danny Buttle’s corner in the 31st minute was headed home by Gareth Griffiths for the opener.
The rest of the first half can best be described as ‘The Bad’ as Handsworth dominated proceedings.
On 35 minutes Holden was through on goal and must have been expecting to score, but just as he was pulling the trigger Jack Andrews was on hand to block the effort.
A minute later and another corner caused discomfort in the box and Rainworth were relieved that it ended on top the net and not in it.
It seemed only a matter of time before Handsworth extended their lead as ‘The Ugly’ was every corner spelled danger for the Rainworth defence.
In a half, the first 15 minutes apart, Rainworth had been second best and they were extremely fortunate to be only trailing by one goal at the half-time whistle.
The second half saw ‘The Good’ as in the opening minute Morris beat the offside trap and he was unlucky to see his effort strike Andrew Sneath’s legs and his follow-up header fall gratefully into his arms.
Whilst this was by no means a fluid display by Rainworth they had at least started to test the Handsworth rear-guard.
The 58th minute saw Declan Brewin break and as he ran towards goal his effort was blocked for a corner.
Handsworth however nearly doubled their score a couple of minutes later when a fiercly hit shot was blocked on the line.
Rainworth brought on Jamie York for Dockwray as they pushed for an equaliser.
The 65th minute saw one of the plays of the match as Morris set up Connor Smythe, but just as it looked to be going into the far corner, Sneath’s legs once more came to Handsworth’s rescue.
Handsworth’s reply was to go straight down the other end and only a fingertip save by Chris Gill prevented the second.
Another corner and once again nearly another goal but Gill saved well.
Rainworth brought on Liam Theakstone for Brewin, but Handsworth still created chances as Ben Starosta’s effort hit the side netting.
Handsworth second in the 84th minute can from yet another aerial ball and whilst there were loud appeals for offside Alex Rippon’s effort was allowed to stand.
In the final minutes Rainworth pressed and Morris almost scored when Matt Plant’s long ball found him, only to see his shot on the turn go agonisingly wide.
In the final minute Rainworth weren’t to be denied their consolation goal as Jack Barnett’s free-kick gave Sneath no chance, on a day Handsworth always had the edge
In a season of rebuilding Rainworth have come a long way, but on today’s showing they still have some way to go to join the ‘top’ table.
Rainworth: Gill; Hanson; Smythe; Barnett; Plant; Andrews; Brewin (Theakstone); Thompson: Morris; Dockwray (York); Sykes. Subs (not used) : J.Weaver; Clarke.
Man of match: Jack Andrews.