Hosts Liversedge scraped a 2-1 victory against Rainworth Miners Welfare on Saturday, despite the visitors having dominated the second-half.
Rainworth visited the Clayborn Stadium more in hope than expectation to face an unbeaten Liversedge side who had pushed title favourites Handsworth Parramore to the very limits the previous Tuesday, having eventually had to settle for a draw.
The travelling fans were even less confident when they learned that the Bank Holiday had reduced the available squad to the bare bones of 12 players, including a couple of youngsters.
The early exchanges looked to be going to script with Liversedge having the most of the early play, but only having a couple of corners to show for it.
That was until ten minutes in when Liversedge took the lead as the ball found leading scorer Vaughn Redford and his shot from outside the area seemed to catch Liam Kerry flat-footed as it nestled in the far corner.
Some fans feared the worst but it was Rainworth who created the next chance and they almost equalised when Jason Stevens’ header was only gathered at the second attempt by Ben Hunter.
The greasy conditions almost created a second for Liversedge as a couple of Rainworth defenders lost their footing but Daniel Hull’s effort flashed inches past the far upright.
Clear cut chances for both sides were becoming few and far between and in the 30th minute Joseph Walton’s acrobatic effort was easily gathered by Kerry.
It was Rainworth who had the last chance of the half when Stevens ran at the Liversedge defence, but he delayed the pass and although the ball eventually found Liam Morris the chance was gone.
The second half saw a rejuvenated Rainworth and in the 55th minute they brought on Declan Brewin for Carter Widdowson.
The Wrens nearly equalised in the 62nd minute when Brewin’s long ball was fumbled by Hunter, six inches to the left it would have been a goal but fortunately for him it was a corner.
The relief was short lived as Matt Sykes’ corner was met by Morris and he gave Hunter no chance with the header for the equaliser.
It was now Rainworth on the front foot and Hunter was Liversedge’s saviour when in quick succession he tipped efforts from Sykes and Brewin round the post.
A minute later and only a block on the line prevented Morris from scoring his second header of the game.
Rainworth were now pressing hard, but in the 81st minute they were caught on the break when a long ball out of defence found Stephen Wales he pulled the ball back for Harrison Blakey who found the bottom corner of the net.
Rainworth’s pressure was relentless and in the 87th minute a Sykes cross was glanced agonisingly wide of the far post by Phil Buxton with Hunter stranded.
When in the 88th minute Buxton’s cross was headed into Moxam’s path by Sykes a goal seemed inevitable, but his effort cleared the crossbar.
There was still time for a chance at both ends but Walton hit his effort wide for Liversedge and Sykes put his free-kick well over.
Rainworth: Kerry: Stevens; Claridge; Widdowson (Brewin); Wankiewicz; Ludlam; Buxton; Clarke; Moxam; Morris; Sykes
Man of the Match: Danny Claridge.