SCOTT Metcalfe’s second-half sending-off led to Radcliffe narrowly losing 1-0 at Basford United.

Captain Matt Thornhill headed in the game’s only goal despite the Boro looking the better of the two sides before Metcalfe saw a second yellow card midway through the second half.

Jon Macken’s men started the better of the pair, with new signing Liam Ellis playing a brilliantly-weighted ball to Matthew Wolfenden who forced a save from Kieran Preston.

Boro’s search for the opener saw Callum Grogan meet a whipped corner but fail to find the net.

Wolfenden had another opportunity but his effort from distance flew over the bar, Anton Forrester then floating a shot narrowly over the bar soon after.

The next big opportunity fell to the home side, Stef Galinski the man to clear Ollie Martin’s bar.

James Reid was next to go close for Winsford. His free kick had Martin scrambling across goal but after it came back off the woodwork the rebound was headed over the bar.

Rick Smith had a goal ruled out for offside and debutant Tyrese Sinclair fired narrowly wide after driving at the home team’s goal.

Two of Macken’s new signings combined shortly after the whistle but after Forrester played in Ellis but he could only slice wide.

Dangerman Sinclair forced a save from Preston in the United goal with a powerful shot from outside the box.

But on 62 minutes Metcalfe entered the referee’s book and, within moments made another late challenge that earned him his second booking.

Boro held out until, with just 15 minutes to play, the home side took the lead, Thornhill heading home from close range to give United an unlikely lead. Smith had two golden opportunities to get the Boro back into the game but both of his headers were sent narrowly wide of the Basford goal.

With moments left to play Tom Brown fired a dangerous free kick towards goal for Radcliffe’s last chance to salvage a draw, but a great save from Preston, who also thwarted Wolfenden in stoppage time, kept them out.

Despite a dominant performance it wasn’t to be for Macken’s men.