Thursday, 31 March 2011

Retford United 1 v Long Eaton United 1 - North Midlands U19 League Division 2

Yours truly behind bars.
Where most people would probably say I ought to be.

Sadly, the 10th anniversary of the passing away, far too early in life, of David 'Rocky' Rocastle. My mum's birthday.
My 100th game this season.

Thursday 31st March 2011, at Cannon Park, Leverton Road, Retford
North Midlands U19 League Division 2
Retford United (1) 1 (Theo Ganderson)
Long Eaton United (1) 1
Admission £2, Concessions £1,
Programme free, Attendance 45 I arrived at the ground early to have a couple of pints in my 'local' (Cannon Park is a very short distance, just over a couple of bridges from my house) and found the Retford manager was having to man the turnstiles, obviously he needed to be elsewhere, so as he's a mate I answered his S.O.S. and stood in.
Even at this end of the football food chain there are people who try it on at the turnstile to try and avoid paying to get in ... and my dear old pal Dickie Bromley at Worksop Town has taught me a trick or two about 'outing' such scurrilous individuals, even the ones who waited in the car park for twenty minutes to avoid paying once the coast was clear didn't get a freebie tonight.
FFS, Under 19's football teams need the money from the turnstile to pay for the match officials. £2 is hardly going to break anyone's bank, is it!?
Tonight Long Eaton needed a win to take the Division 2 title, any other result and Unity FP would be champions.
I get on well with both management teams present here tonight ... and also Alan, Morris and Ritchie at Unity, so this was a very intriguing contest for me personally.
Long Eaton took the lead after just a few minutes and had obviously turned up hell bent on making their mark.
But this young Retford side have a resilient spine and a couple of outstanding individuals, one of whom, namely Theo Ganderson smashed home a quite unstoppable equaliser and the teams went in level at the break one apiece.
It had been a lively 45 minutes with no quarter given, but the second half was an altogether scrappier affair, maybe the Long Eaton lads were feeling the pressure of the occasion a bit and lost some of the collective composure that has been their mainstay this season, but the over-riding reason the game lost its fluidity and went off the boil a bit was the stop/start regime the referee adopted.Certainly one or two of the players needed to learn to shut their rattle and cut down on the industrial language a bit, but the game just didn't seem to flow at all throughout the second half. Rules are rules and I don't envy any match official, but I prefer football as entertainment, not as some kind of hard won war of attrition strategy contest ... and this was definitely a game of two halves in that respect.
Right at the end, the Long Eaton keeper went up for a corner and was nearly the hero as he headed wide, but the score remained one apiece and Unity FP are 2nd Division champions as a consequence.
Congratulations to all involved and commiserations to Chris Hooley and his Long Eaton United team, who fished level on points at the top but came second by virtue of goal difference.
Good luck Alan Avery from Unity FP with whatever you decide to do in the future after this season.