Racing Club maintained their fine league form with a comfortable 3-1 win at home to Heath Hayes, writes Paul Okey.
A vibrant first-half performance put the home side in control, with Luke Cole deservedly putting Scott Easterlow’s side two goals to the good.
The hosts missed several more clear-cut chances to make the scoreline more emphatic before Heath Hayes were handed a lifeline they five minutes before the break following a Tom Cross howler.
As the heavy pitch took its toll, the second half was much more even. However, substitute Joe Carter pounced to make it 3-1 and Racing Club were able to see out the game.
Racers began the match at a good tempo and had their first sight of goal in the fourth minute, Lewis Hudson seeing his shot palmed away after a neat one-two with Rich Powell.
Connor Haddaway head over for the visitors a minute later before Terry Allsopp was back in action in the Hayes goal, producing a strong hand to keep out Martin Slevin’s long-range effort.
Racing Club were rewarded for their good start in the tenth minute, Henry Leaver biding his time before putting in a cross which was headed home by Cole.
Powell should have made it 2-0 after a fine period of first-touch football but he did not get enough purchase on his shot and Josh Small was able to tidy up.
Sixty second later it was two, Cole sweeping home the loose ball after Slevin got his shot all wrong.
Hayes had their first shot a minute later but Racers were quickly back up the other end, with Luke Church denied by Allsopp.
In the 40th minute, the visitors pulled a goal back out of nothing. Josh Small’s hopeful ball forward seemed meat and drink for Cross but he overran it under pressure from Brad Rolston who swept the loose ball into an empty net.
Cole almost completed his hat-trick in the closing stages of the half but his first-time effort from Powell’s flick-on drifted just past the far post, while a positive run from Leaver ended with him dragging his shot just past a post.
Heath Hayes were presented with an early chance to get back on terms after the restart when Jamie Coleman chopped down Rolston on the edge of the box.
However, Rolston’s strike hit the wall and the follow-up from Andrew Davis was blocked.
Great battling from Powell earned a chance for Cole but he did not get enough purchase on his shot and Allsopp gathered comfortably.
A Carter shot from distance was gathered well by the Hayes keeper before the visitors enjoyed their best spell of the game.
Davis fired wide of goal with Cross out prone from a challenge, while the home keeper had to get down well to save from James McCready.
Carter fired home to make it 3-1 in the 71st minute after Slevin’s ball had evaded everyone in the six-yard box but the visitors’ heads did not drop, with Davis firing wastefully over and Cross called upon to save from Rolston and Ben Derbyshire.
However, Racers regained a measure of control and Church was unlucky to see a first-time effort slide across the face of goal in the final minute of normal time.