Rainworth MW remain in deep trouble after they were beaten 1-0 by high-flying Leek Town.
The defeat was Rainworth’s 25th of the season and leaves them level on points with second bottom Kidsgrove, who still have a game in hand.
It was Leek’s goal that was threatened first when Chris Betteny’s fired an effort past the post in the ninth minute.
Rainworth failed to take advantage in the 12th minute when from a long throw the ball eventually fell to Romaine Graham, but his effort was well over.
Leek showed their class when an inch perfect ball from Dan Shelley was met by Tim Grice fired just over after he ghosted between defenders in the 20th minute.
Rainworth still created the odd chance but in a counter attack Leon Osborne found Grant Ryan, but his effort ballooned over the bar.
It had taken Leek over half the first half to come to terms with the elements and the game had been pretty even, but now they were beginning to dominate play.
Dan Shelley’s goal bound free-kick was deflected for a corner by Dan White as they began to tighten the screw.
In the 32nd minute a flowing Leek move saw Hall and Shelley involved, but Ashley Jackson’s effort was well over and this was quickly followed by Shelley’s shot on the turn, which again was wide of the goal.
Just when it looked that Rainworth would survive the half they were undone in the 38th minute when an inch perfect cross was matched by Tim Grice’s lovely flick on to open the scoring.
The goal would have graced any match and Grice’s effort found the only part of the goal that David Reay couldn’t reach.
In the final minutes of the half Leek pushed to drive home their advantage and but for White’s blocking of Grice and Sean Kinsella’s efforts, they may well have done so.
The referee brought the half to an end with Leek having a slender 1-0 lead in a half were Rainworth battled against a very good footballing side.
Rainworth threatened the Leek goal in the 53rd minute when from a long ball Ryan just got there before the keeper and a defender, but it went wide.
It was Leek’s turn when Tyler Williams cut into the area and played it back into Kinsella’s path but his shot went well over the crossbar.
Leek almost doubled their score a minute later when Grice found himself one-on-one with Reay but the keeper saved his effort with his outstretched leg.
Rainworth made a couple of substitutions bringing on Glodi Bange and Darren Mansaram for Ryan and Osborne.
Rainworth were fortunate in the 80th minute when the ball bounced about in the area and as players of both sides attempted to make contact it deflected off White for a corner.
In final minutes Rainworth nearly equalised when Bettney ran on to through ball and struck a fierce drive that was brilliantly saved by Ben Chapman at full stretch.
There was still time for Leek to almost add to their score when Williams shot was touched onto the post by Reay.
Rainworth’s remaining fixtures are against mid table sides with the exception of fellow relegation candidates Kidsgrove Athletic and that more and more looks like being the biggest game of the season.
RAINWORTH: Reay; Bettney; Hodgett-Young; Freeman; White; Brock (I.Robinson); Kelleher; Ofushine; Graham; Ryan (Bange); Osborne (Mansaram). Subs (not used: E.Brown; Williams.
Referee: Nicholas Hopton
Rainworth man-of-match: Kuwesi Ofushine.