Racing Club Warwick dug deep to overcome a determined Copsewood, playing for more than 70 minutes with ten man after the sending-off of Jamie Coleman.
The afternoon started brightly, with Warwick showing no signs of rustiness despite suffering a string of postponements in recent weeks.
Rich Powell and Josh O’Grady put the hosts on the back foot in the early stages and the two combined for a deserved opener in the 13th minute, with Powell doing superbly on the left before cutting the ball back for O’Grady to fire home.
However, a 19th-minute red card for Coleman turned the game on its head, with the centre-back deemed to be the last man when bringing down a Copsewood attacker.
His dismissal forced Racers boss Scott Easterlow into a reshuffle, with Luke Cole dropping back into the centre of midfield and Alex Price sacrificed as centre-half Joe Smith was introduced for his debut.
“I felt we started the game brightly and deserved the lead. The sending-off changed everything,” admitted Easterlow.
“It was definitely a red, no complaints from us and Jamie knows himself but it was just a reaction to a bad pass.
“It was unfortunate on Pricey and O’Grady (later in the game) that I decided to take both off even though they both had good beginnings to the game.
“In truth, should the sending-off have happened later in the game we would have probly gone a different route.
“But as it was with only 20 minutes gone I didn’t want to sit in and be defensive too early as I felt to defend for 70 minutes was too risky and the chances are they could break us down over that long period.”
With the man advantage, Copsewood came more into the game and Racers keeper Tom Cross had to make a fine stop to his right to prevent an equaliser just before the break.
Racing Club gave themselves some breathing space eight minutes into the second half when superb play from the effervescent Trea Bertie out on the right saw him put in a fine low cross that Powell controlled well before firing past the keeper.
Copsewood did score a well-worked goal in the 68th minute through George Whitelaw and had the majority of possession in the latter stages as the ten men felt the pace.
However, Racing Club’s makeshift rearguard stood up well, with Smith making an instant impression with a man-of-the-match performance as the visitors held on for a win Easterlow called “one of the most pleasing results of the season”.
He went on to add: “It was not our best performance on a football front but to play 70 minutes with ten men and win 2-1 away from home is a tremendous result.
“Copeswood always battle hard, we knew that going into the game.
“There were some really good individual performances on our part and there needed to be.
“We worked so hard when one man short and all that running, especially when you think we haven’t played for a couple weeks.
“It would have been easy for the lads to give up on it, especially in the later stages when we had some tired legs out there but we dug in and showed the fighting spirit we have.”
n Racing Club Warwick made it though to the semi-final of the Midweek Challenge Cup on Tuesday night after a dogged display helped them to a 2-1 win at Tividale.
High-flying Tividale, who ply their trade in the West Midlands Regional Premier, started brightly and had the early pressure but Warwick opened the scoring against the run of play in the 13th minute when Jack Taylor fed Marc Passey who coolly slotted home.
Almost immediately, the hosts were level when Darragyh Bustin fired high into the net from a tight angle.
However, within five minutes Racing Club were back in front, Josh O’Grady jinking past several Tividale players before cutting the ball back for Luke Cole to smash home.
On a difficult surface, the second half was played out without any further scoring thanks to some solid defensive work from the visitors all over the pitch which presented Tividale with few opportunities to get back on level terms.
Warwick will now go on to meet Coventry Copsewood in the semi-final, with Atherstone Town awaiting the winners in the final.