Saturday, 27 March 2010

Retford United v Frickley Athletic - UniBond League Premier Division

Attishoo!!! Nice legs, shame about the cold ;-)

Saturday 27th March 2010. UniBond League Premier Division
at Cannon Park, Retford

Retford United (3) 3 (Colin Marrison 5, Marquin Smith 18, Neil Harvey 39)
Frickley Athletic (2) 5 (Danny Walsh 41, 43 both pens, Adam Lee 62, 85, 90)

Admission £8. Programme £2. Attendance 297
Two programmes, one for the original fixture from 26.12.09 which was postponed due to crap weather, the other for today, but dated 30.03.10.
So, the Badgers stormed into a 3-0 lead and it looked like some kind of landslide massacre was on the cards.
Marrison knocked home the opener before Frickley were even out of the starting blocks and on 18 minutes Marquin Smith knocked the ball beyond the flailing reach of Adam Nicklin in the visitors goal and ran on to knock the ball into the now unguarded net.
Five minutes before the break Neil Harvey cleverly bought the ball down on the edge of the box and hit home a powerful volley on the turn.
Frickley looked deflated and defeated, but found the reserves from somewhere to keep their heads up and keep on keeping on. It probably had something to do with their boss Billy Heath booming out err ... constructive criticism and instructions from his dug out.
With the clock nudging towards half time and a few understandably over confident home fans heading off to beat the queue at the bar that was probably swelling by now anyway with Blues fans who had decided it was already time to drown their sorrows, Colin Marrison needlessly bought Danny Walsh down in the box to concede a penalty.
Which Walsh got up and duly despatched into the back of James Lindley's net (see above photo).
So the guys on their way to the bar shrugged "Oh well, it's still 3-1" and carried on about their business without too much concern.
But it wasn't "Still 3-1" for much longer.
Spurred on by their goal, Frickley surged forward again.
Adam Lee played a neat one-two with Danny Clarke but was flattened by Nicky Ellis before he could take a shot at goal.
The referee decided that a yellow card was sufficient punishment for Ellis after pointing to the spot.
Danny Walsh confidently stepped forward again (see above photo) and gave the half time score a look that hadn't seemed very likely just a few minutes before.
Retford had a few chances to regain the ascendancy after the break without getting the final touch they needed.
Just after the hour mark, Adam Lee was sent clear when Andy Catton played a pass over Paul Ellender and into his path, but was unlucky to see his effort come back off the cross bar after he had lobbed the ball over the advancing Lindley.
A minute later there was a bit of a kerfuffle in the Badgers box following a Frickley corner and Adam Lee (who else?) was on hand to steer home the equaliser.
Now it was United's turn to look deflated.
Frickley's Burberry Crew were out in force this afternoon

At 3-3 a pivotal moment in the game that typified how thing's had gone today for the home side came and agonisingly went, when the Badgers substitute Darryl Thomas charged into the box and drew the Blues keeper off his line towards him ... a clever sideways pass found the usually reliable Micky Godber just a few yards out with an open goal in front of him at his mercy. Godber aimed, pulled the trigger and fired ... and the ball sailed over the crossbar, through that big open space in the air where the net for catching stray balls used to stand and into the car park.
If I was a betting man, I would have backed Godber heavily to score from that position.
Just as well I'm not then.
With just five minutes remaining, Frickley were awarded a free kick 25 yards out to the right of the box.
Adam Lee put some back spin on the ball, which glanced off the shoulder of the defender to the right of the wall ... and that was enough to wrong foot James Lindley as the ball beat him just inside the post.
Retford United's heads collectively dropped, they were stunned by how on earth they had now managed to grab a defeat from the jaws a of certain looking comfortable win.
But worse was to come for the Badgers ... in the shape of another free kick for the Blues from almost exactly the same spot in the very last minute.
Lee sized the ball up again (see photo below) and this time he missed the wall completely and directly fired home a fifth goal for the visitors.
It was too late for the home side to respond now.
Frickley Athletic had stuck to their game plan which consisted of a combination of:
Keeping going even when all looked to be lost, not wasting dead ball set pieces and utilising Adam Lee's lightning pace, while Retford United for their part had taken their foot of the gas and let their concentration level slip after cruising into a three goal lead.

Final score Badgers 3 v Blues 5

Now there were a few talking points about the referee, the marvellously named Tony Tankard, after the game.
Retford fans claimed they had spotted a Frickley player's arm swing out to fell one of their team after an alleged stamping incident.
It's not my place to name names if the referee has missed anything, but that very same Frickley player admitted after the game, that the incident with his hand had taken place and said "Yes, I definitely caught him"
In the spirit of fairness I will also grant anonymity to the Retford defender, who with the game delicately balanced at 3-3 'headed' the ball away in his own penalty area with his right hand.
A fairly old (but still perfectly formed) local DJ from Retford pointed out that Adam Lee might not even of been on the pitch when he scored his fourth goal, if the referee had spotted an alleged straight red card offence a few minutes earlier, but one could counter that (I'm not disputing the authenticity of the claim by the way) by saying Nicky Ellis might have got a straight red for bringing down Lee, the last man, to concede the penalty Frickley scored their second goal from.
The referee might have been of the mindset that it's supposed to be a man's game with some level of physical contact being inevitable and was merely letting the game flow a few times ... but personally I reckon he missed all of the above.

There's been quite a lot of work done at Cannon Park in a very short time since my last visit ... which was actually only on Thursday morning!
I might even treat you to a few before, during and after pictures of the work that's been done on the ground sometime in the near future if I'm feeling generous.
Well done to 'Rob the Builder' (you Chelsea bastard!) and his team of helpers on that score, I hope everything goes OK for you on Wednesday when the UniBond ground grading committee come calling.