Rainworth crumble in dying stages as Stafford Rangers seal 3-0 win

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Rainworth were left counting the cost of a poor final 20 minutes after they slumped to a 3-0 defeat against Stafford.

Rainworth had held their opponents and had created the better chances up until the 70 minute mark.

But the visitors collapsed late on as Stafford went on to secure a win that appeared much more comfortable than it was.

Joint manager Ian Robinson said: “For 70 minutes we were more than a match for them, but in the last 20 minutes individual errors cost us and the lads are down as the result in no way reflects the game.”

Relegated Stafford are intent on getting back up the non-league ladder as quickly as possible and have started their current campaign in fine form

Alex Ford headed Matt Jones corner over the bar in the 12th minute.

Stafford kept pumping the ball into the area at every opportunity, but Matt Millns and the Rainworth defence were up for the fight.

Stanley Mugisha shot wide from outside the area in the 26th minute and a couple of minutes later Tommy Hannigan found his way into the book for a professional foul.

Rainworth ended the half on the attack as firstly Tristram Whitman’s cross just eluded a Rainworth head and then a couple of minutes later Craig Mitchell set up Whitman, but he couldn’t get the ball out from his feet and he dragged his shot wide.

The whistle brought the half to an end with the 0-0 scoreline reflecting a hard fought game with neither side able to break the deadlock.

In the 48th minute a great run and cross by Theo Brown almost found Ford, but Adam Whitehouse dived bravely at his feet.

In the 56th minute Rainworth came even closer as Dean Freeman’s header was somehow saved by Whitehouse’s legs at the expense of a corner.

Whitehouse again saved well in the 58th minute as Brown put Whitman through on goal, only for the goalkeeper to block his goal bound effort.

Just when it looked that Rainworth would get the breakthrough, the lack of a pre-season began to tell as they tired and Stafford started to get on top.

Rainworth were starting to misplace passes as tiredness began to take hold and, in the 72nd minute, they had an escape when Levi Reid’s shot flashed by the upright with Roberts at full stretch.

The reprieve was short lived as Roberts could only parry a shot and it fell to Christian Dacres who hit the rebound into the net to open the scoring on 73 minutes.

Rainworth were still creating chances and Ford broke and his cross was just cleared for a corner before Ryan could convert the chance.

From the corner Dan Cope blocked an attempted clearance before firing home.

Still Rainworth attacked and Ford’s goalbound shot was parried and gathered at the second attempt by Whitehouse.

But it was game over i mthe 81st minute when another Roberts blocked clearance was again converted by Cope to give a distorted look to the scoreline.

In the 85th minute Cope almost got a third only for Roberts to make a magnificent save at full stretch.

There was still time for one more Rainworth attack and Ford’s effort was cleared off the line.

RAINWORTH: Roberts; Hannigan; Andrews (J. Brown); Freeman; Millns; Rennalls; Jones (Haughton); Mitchell; Whitman (Ryan); Ford; T. Brown. Subs (not used): Coupe; Brock.

Referee; Eddie Smart.

Man of match: Craig Mitchell.