A first half dominated by Rainworth saw Radford capitalise on one of only two scoring opportunities to go in at half time level at 1-1. The second half was a different story with Rainworth defending for their lives and eventually capitulating to a late Smith header.
The opening minute set the tone when Rainworth’s interplay saw Lewis Weaver, Aiden Harris and Declan Brewin combine but the final cross was blocked at the expense of a corner, from which Brad Cox put his effort just wide.
The game continued in the same vein with first Charlie Hardwick hitting his effort well over and then Brewin’s goal bound effort was headed clear. However, in what was Radford’s first attempt on their opponents’ goal, Ravan Antonio Jackson was allowed too much space in the area and he placed his effort wide of Steve Smith’s despairing dive for the opener.
Undaunted Rainworth continued to dominate and Callam Lytham’s cross was hit straight at Scott Miles by Harris and Weaver’s effort from Jonathon Drake’s cross met the same fate. The pressure was relentless and when Brewin’s effort found Harris the ball flashed inches wide with Miles a mere spectator.
Debutant Weaver’s dangerous cross was deflected for a corner and minutes later yet another one almost found its way into the Radford goal, courtesy of an opponent’s boot the result of desperate defending. It was only a matter of time and in the 35th minute Rainworth got the goal they deserved when Miles couldn’t hold Lytham’s effort and Weaver was the first to react stabbing the ball home.
After the restart Rainworth continued to camp in the Radford half and Weaver was unlucky when his goal bound shot was deflected for a corner. Cox’s header was inches over and then Radford had Miles to thank when his anticipation saw his head clear, just outside his area, as Lytham bore down on goal.
In the final minutes there were chances at both ends when firstly Brewin hit his effort straight at Miles then the referee somehow missed a blatant penalty when Weaver was pushed to the ground from behind. Then Smith’s effort, in the fifth minute of injury time, flashed inches wide of the far post in a rare Radford attack as the referee blew for the end of the half.
The second half was the complete opposite of the first and it was Rainworth who were on the back foot as first Simon Hoare’s header was straight at smith and the Smith put shot his wide. Smith was becoming a constant threat as Radford used their height advantage to good effect.
It took until the 79th minute for Rainworth to offer any threat going forward when a through ball sent Weaver clear but he unfortunately overran the ball. Rainworth made their first substitution bringing on Blessing Adeleye for Lytham.
The pressure however continued, and Cameron Davidson did well to block Smith’s goal bound effort at the expense of a corner, from which Smith was penalised for a foul on the keeper. There was a slight rest bite for Rainworth when a break by Adeleye ended in a free kick and Cox’s effort took a deflection that went straight into Miles’s arms.
With minutes remaining Rainworth were defending deep and in the 88th minute they had Smith to thank as he pulled off a wonder save to deny Jackson’s effort that looked destined for the top corner. Rainworth’s overworked defence were given a warning as Smith’s header came back off the crossbar and seconds later, they were picking the ball out of their net as another Smith header found the top corner. Rainworth made a second substitution when they replaced Brewin with Ethan Knowles. Minutes later the referee blew for full time and Rainworth were left to rue their failure to capitalise on their first half dominance.
RAINWORTH MWFC: Smith; Drake; Toon; Hardwick; Timons; Davidson; Lytham; Cox; Brewin (Knowles); Harris; Lytham (Adeleye).
Subs (not used): Coupe; Cole
Referee: Kevin Guise