Scheduled as an away game but played at home, seemingly comfortable on paper but, thanks to a gritty Collingham performance, much harder in reality, this was Radcliffe's Cup opener of the season.
Opening with our Oliver trio (Jones Wilkinson, Petchell and Skinner), Radcliffe appeared to settle first, yet it was a hard driven free kick, low to the right of Harvey Woodward that put Collingham ahead (0-1 - 7 mins).
Radcliffe then seemed to dominate possession in reaction to the early setback - but possession does not always equate to goals and despite a lot of activity in the final third of the pitch, it was not until Ollie Skinner opened up an opportunity for Ollie Petchell to slot home, were Radcliffe back on equal terms ( 1-1 11 mins. )
Strangely this did not settle Radcliffe down and what followed was a patch of play where anxiety had the better of possession. All this time, Collingham were picking up the ball in midfield and with some neat play, edging their way upfield. So it was that, failing to clear from the area, Radcliffe allowed Collingham 3 consecutive headers in the box before the regained the lead ( 1-2 24 mins.)
A change of personnel (29 mins) with Nathan Stocks coming on for Ollie Jones Wilkinson saw out the half with no addition to the score.
With the dominant advice at half-time focussing on the need for Radcliffe to relax and play their natural game, the second half started with Ollie Jones Wilkinson back on, accompanied by George Arrowsmith, replacing the Ollie's, Skinner and Petchell. The immediate result was not encouraging. Once again allowing Collingham too much of both time and space, a low driven ball sneaked under Harvey to increase the visitor's lead ( 1-3 43 mins.)
With an unexpected defeat facing them, Radcliffe at last caught up with the half-time advice. With a much greater focus and Morgan Roberts, Finn Jackson and Nathan Stocks battling for every ball, there was an immediate reward. Within a minute of the Collingham goal, Nathan forced his way through two defenders along the line and sent a perfect pass for Josh Jones Wilkinson to slot home ( 2-3 43 mins. ).
At last Radcliffe seemed energised with more of the game now played in the Collingham half. A determined defence, a gutsy goal keeper and, for Josh Jones Wilkinson, the post, kept the score unchanged until Oliver Jones Wilkinson gave Morgan Roberts the chance to equalise - a chance he did not waste netting with a great shot despite the enthusiastic attention of a Collingham defender ( 3-3 51 mins.).
With a defence led by Harry Timpson Smith and Will Quilter now snuffing out any forward movement by Collingham, Radcliffe looked their more assured selves. With Ollie Petchell replacing Josh Jones Wilkinson, the pressure continued. Yet it was a free kick by Harry Timpson Smith that brought the lead. With the goalkeeper facing George Arrowsmith and Oliver Jones Wilkinson bearing down upon him, it was distraction enough for the free kick to end up, unhindered, in the net ( 4-3 65 mins)
In the lead for the first time, Radcliffe now strove to clinch the match with Nathan Stocks and Morgan Roberts battling relentlessly to provide the ball, it was fitting that after creating a number of opportunities, George Arrowsmith made one count to extend the lead ( 5-3 71 mins. )
To their credit Collingham refused to give up their efforts and, allied to some Radcliffe sloppiness, were rewarded when the smallest player on the pitch managed to pop in a header to reduce the lead back to one goal ( 5-4 78 mins. )
That was the scoring ended however and 5-4 remained the final score with Radcliffe through to the next round, understanding the need for a much more coherent and relaxed approach, and Collingham, though out of the Cup, knowing that they fought valiantly and made their opponents work very hard for victory.
A number of players eventually put in determined and gutsy performances but for his particular efforts, Man of the Match goes to Morgan Roberts