St Ives deservedly made a winning FA Trophy debut thanks to Avalino Vieria’s 83rd-minute killer goal, which saw Rainworth exit their third cup competition of the season with a 1-0 defeat.
The Wrens failed to transfer their impressive recent league form to cup action as, after an even opening first quarter, the Saints began to exert a measure of control.
The writing was on the wall for a goalless draw until the hitherto impeccable home defence was found wanting when they failed to deal with Karl Gibbs’ incisive ball into the box, and substitute Vieria was left with the simplest of chances to fire the Saints into the next round.
Rainworth included new striker Jordan Ball from Halifax Town, and in keeping with recent trends he almost scored a debut goal in only the fifth minute, but, set up by strike partner Ashley Longstaff, his shot was directed straight at keeper Nick Bennion.
Play switched immediately to the other end, and Dubi Ogbonna’s delicate chip brought the best out of Wrens keeper James Martin, who managed to deflect to safety at full stretch.
Ball was showing some neat early skills for the Wrens, who were close to a 12th minute lead, Matt Varley’s volley onto a half-cleared free kick just too high.
As the half progressed the visitors came more into the picture and began to push the home side back, but a competent defensive display restricted them to long range pots which were invariably off target.
However, it needed a well-timed challenge by Sam Saunders to whip the ball off the feet of the threatening Ogbonna when the slightest error would have brought a penalty, and then in the Saints’ next attack Jason King stabbed a good chance wide.
Rainworth brought on Jamie Brown for the second half to replace Joe Flint, and player-manager Scott Rickards made his appearance for Scott Rogers seven minutes in, but in between Dan Banister scooped over with the goal at his mercy when Jared Cunniff’s teasing cross caused a few problems.
Nevertheless the changes seemed to spark the Wrens into a response, and King popped up to clear off the line when the impeccable Nick Bennion for once failed to gather Ricky Hanson’s corner cleanly.
Rainworth continued to create a few chances, but Saints keeper Nick Bennion kept them well at bay, the closest the Wrens came being when Sam Saunders hooked against the bar in the 71st minute following Matt Varley’s long throw in.
A further chance appeared when the impressive Hanson laid off the perfect pass for Ball who shot straight at Bennion, who was then down well to smother Longstaff’s 25-yard daisy-cutter.
But it all went wrong for the Wrens when Vieria applied the killer punch to the delight of their noisy travelling fans, and after that there was no way back.
RAINWORTH: Martin, Gregory, Dudley, Lloyd, Varley, Saunders, Hanson, Rogers (Rickards 52), Longstaff, Ball (Clarke 80), Flint (Brown HT). Subs not used: Walker, Magee.
ST IVES: Bennion, King, D. Cobb, Newman, Lambert, Dean, Cunniff, Banister, Ogbonna (Vieria 66), Gibbs (Meechan 87), S. Cobb (Ellison 81). Subs not used: Roberts, Everdell.
REFEREE: Alan Hull of Sheffield.
WRENS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ricky Hanson.