Friday, 2 April 2010

Retford United v Durham City - UniBond League Premier Division

Friday 2nd April 2010. UniBond League Premier Division

Retford United (4) 6 (Marrison 12, Thomas 22, 72, Godber 35, Ellender 44, Legitt 84)
Durham City (0) 1 (Winter 47)

Admission £8. Programme £2. Attendance 318
My third visit to Cannon Park in the last six days.
Worksop Town don't have a game at all over the Bank Holiday weekend, due to the demise of both Newcastle Blue Star and Kings Lynn since the fixtures computer threw up a list of dates way back when.
I was in two minds whether to watch the Badgers play today or not, Brigg Town were at home after all, but after innocently calling into Wetherspoons for a bacon and black pudding sandwich and a 'swift half' at 11am, I became the victim of a kidnapping plot, where shape shifting lizards (assisted by a couple of shady looking Mancunians) poured copious amounts of alcoholic beverages down my neck and led me astray while I was Non compos mentis.
My suspicions should have been on red alert when two young ladies appeared saying they were here to transport us to a football match, because one of the lizards, who had an uncanny resemblance to an old 24/7 binge drinking f(r)iend of mine, told me one of the females was his sister.
Yeah right!
For an ugly wizened old lizard like him to have one beautiful sister (Hi Mrs Beech) is a biological miracle, but two? It's stretching the bounds of credibility a bit Robin.
We were dropped off in the car park at a football ground.
'Blooming heck we got here a bit quick!' I thought, 'Brigg Town's place has changed a bit since the last time I was here'.
But as I clicked through the turnstile, I recognised where I really was ... Retford bloody United ... again!!!
But it was too late to get to the Hawthorns in time for kick off now and I was possibly six times over the legal limit to drive there myself anyway.
Thankfully, I had my WTFC badge on and managed to get my hands on a Durham City one too, I didn't want people thinking I might be a Badgers fan or anything silly like that after all, I mean it's not as if I'm a regular visitor up there or 'owt ... now is it!?
Durham have been UniBond League whipping boys this season, except for a two game unbeaten run last month and they've been on the end of a few real thrashings.
Today was to be no different.
Prior to kick off the Citizens have conceded 148 goals in just 32 games, that's an average of 4.625 goals against per game so far, a figure that was to increase ever so slightly today too ... to 4.6 'recurring' for the benefit of those of you who cherish the opportunity to marvel at football's vital statistics. And for the benefit of anybody who is desperately trying to write something to fill up a space on his blog too.
The weather was dry with just a slight breeze at kick off time, but fairly soon the heavens opened and it bucketed down with rain for the remainder of the game, exactly what this already heavy pitch didn't need when three matches have now been played on it in just under a week.
Durham were plucky and they don't ever give up trying, but Retford had already wrapped the game up by half time and they possibly won't have had a more straight forward and academic win all season, in fact if they had been awarded the blatant penalty they should have had for a foul on Godber early in the game, who knows how many goals they might have gone on to score this afternoon.
Harvey in particular had been relishing his role of creator around the box, setting up several gilt edged chances.
The visitors put up a token resistance when Connor Winter pulled a goal back at the beginning of the second half, but then the game returned to it's men versus boys, only one team in it pattern and on a grim and wet afternoon the Durham supporters had little else to cheer them up ... except for a few beers that they were evidently quite partial to indulging in. Picture detail, if I was that Durham City defender I would definitely try a little bit harder to get my head on that ball, because if he doesn't the guy waiting behind him is going to power a header past Rhys Jobling into the back of the net to put the game beyond the visitors reach.
Which actually, is exactly what happened.
This is Sam Leggitt about to score his first ever goal for Retford United as it happens ... Kinnel! I'm even beginning to recognise the players on the fringes of the Badgers team now.
Go compare!!!

Way back at the end of July, I saw Durham City beat Ryton 1-0 in a pre season friendly, here is the team sheet for that day and the programme from this afternoon (left click image to enlarge), 32 different Durham City players! And they had two more playing today who weren't even listed on the back of the programme. With that kind of turnover of players it's no wonder they have struggled all season. But they're a friendly lot, on and off the pitch and I reckon fans all of UniBond Premier clubs will have fond memories of City's solitary year out of their depth when they inevitably go down at the end of the season.
With the greatest of respect to the hard working team of players they've got now, I'll repeat what I've said about Durham City before ... and that is if they had held on to the team that left them right at the start of the season plunging the club into turmoil, they wouldn't have struggled to get a foothold in the UniBond Premier Division this season, far from it.
But I s'pose we'll never know now.
A few interesting points were raised in RUFC manager Peter Duffield's programme notes.
Particularly regarding a couple of things he has read on the Badgers fans forum, especially the post where somebody said the 2009-10 season has been a nightmare for Retford United on and off the pitch.
How the feckin' hell is ... two cup finals, a play off position in the highest division Retford United have ever played in (achieved during their first season there), beating the ground grading inspectors deadline by the skin of their teeth (that outcome looked highly unlikely barring a miracle even last month) and of course a possible promotion to the Conference North still to play for ... a nightmare scenario?
Off the top off my head I could name approximately 14 other clubs in this division who'd gladly swap their own season for such a bad dream.
There is just no pleasing some people, obviously.
Duffield's notes made for some interesting reading, but I feel obliged to correct him on one point; 'Rob the Builder' (AKA an old binge drinking f(r)iend of mine) has done a hell of a lot of work up at Cannon Park (along with others) to get the ground up to scratch, but he did all the proper building work, y'know 'the manly stuff n' all that', but he did not erect the stands as he was credited for doing in the 'Duffs Speaks ...' column.
In fact if you can believe the graffiti that appears on several pub toilet walls in Retford, it is highly unlikely that the guy has done anything with an erection in years.

Rather worryingly, a local Disc Jockey, who is a few pounds overweight but carries it really well, asked me if I had seen any other team play three consecutive matches during my travels this season, or if it was just the Badgers I devoted so much time to :-O
That had me worried, because in truth, although I was almost certain there must be, I didn't honestly know to be sure, but it was the first thing I checked when I got home just now (see list to the right of this blog) and I can happily confirm that I've seen Worksop Town three times in a row twice and four times in a row once, phew!
And those sequences would have been even longer if I hadn't been elsewhere in between the Tigers scheduled fixtures too.
Although I wasn't really kidnapped by shape shifting lizards who tricked me into going to Cannon Park today ... I am not a Retford United fan! Nor actually, am I a Worksop Town fan.
Mansfield Town, England and Heart of Midlothian are my actual teams of choice, comprehend!