Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Retford United U19 2 v Radford U19 3 - NMU19L Division 2

Wednesday 16th November 2011, at Cannon Park
North Midlands Under 19 League Division 2
Retford United (2) 2
Tom Bland pen 42, pen 44
Radford (2) 3
Anton Robinson 6, Dan Miller 27, 68
Admission £2 inc. programme, Attendance 37 (or so)

Retford United captain Alistair Plant sent off in second half stoppage time, second yellow card
NMU19L Division 2 league leaders Radford, beat second placed Retford United at Cannon Park tonight, in an incident packed game, full of twists, turns and sub plots. With a few heated and hectic moments chucked in along the way too.
Retford United U19 line up

I don't envy the match officials in the Under 19's game ... it is played at a frenetic pace with players crashing head on into each other all over the park ... and it can quite often be difficult to determine whether foul play and skulduggery is the motivating factor behind one or two of the more robust challenges from time to time, or if an accidental contact has been made borne out of a combination of over eagerness and inexperience.
Radford FC line up

It can be an unforgiving backdrop for any aspiring referee or assistant to learn their trade, with every single call, appeal and insult echoing into the crisp Autumn sky for everybody to hear.
Tonight's game needed a strong official to take charge of it.
Far be it from me to make a judgement on anyone's performance to that end ... but plenty of other people had quite a lot to say about them on the night.
On six minutes Radford won a corner out on the left wing, the in-swinging ball caused all sorts of problems for the Retford defence and when they failed to clear their lines Anton Robinson pounced to put the visitors ahead.
Radford's second goal also came from a dead ball situation.
A free kick was lofted into the Retford box from in front of the dug outs, Lewis Brealey got to the ball but opted to knock it away instead of holding on to it (a text book, coaching manual decision) and Dan Miller was on hand to put the loose ball past Brealey and into the back of the net.
On 42 minutes, Luke Walker broke away and homed in on the visitors goal, Jake Want charged from his line to block the angle and threw himself at Walker's feet.
Want didn't make any contact with the ball and the momentum of the challenge took Walker's legs away and he crashed to the ground in a heap.
Whichever way you look at it, a definite stonewall penalty.
But now it gets tricky.
Walker was the last man, it was a foul and it was a clear goal scoring opportunity, that a player of Luke Walker's calibre would definitely have put away.
The referee, correctly, awarded a penalty, he then yellow carded Want after talking to him.
There was quite a lot of rather heated dialogue over whether the keeper should've been red carded or not ... though if the same incident had occurred at the other end, both benches would've been saying the exact opposite to what they were saying now, in response to the incident in reverse ... c'mon, fess up guys, you would ;-)
And I'm addressing that to both benches btw.
With just about everybody else in the ground and on the pitch exchanging forthright views over what had just happened, Tom Bland kept his cool and fired the ball home.
Two minutes later, Want was wrong footed and a cross from the right of his box was heading just underneath the bar ... a definite 100% goal all the way ... until a Radford defender outstretched his arm and diverted the ball away for a corner with his hand.
I hate to see Under 19's players sent off, but ... I was surprised to see the referee show leniency for a second time.
Maybe for the first penalty, common sense had prevailed (maybe), but this time, a deliberate handball and an even clearer goal scoring chance probably merited a red card. After a consultation with the linesman to clarify the situation, the referee correctly awarded a penalty, but then pulled out his yellow card again.
Tom Bland scored, this time as an even louder 'discussion' was taking place all around him.
The half time break gave everybody a chance to 'cool their jets' and the second half was played out at a more discerning volume, for the most part.
A few weeks ago, I saw Retford United beat Harworth CI Under 19's by virtue of goals scored from corners, so the irony wasn't lost on me when Dan Miller headed home the visitors third goal from a left wing corner.
Retford battled to get back into the game, but Radford held on.
Towards the end of the game with the home side having to commit players forward, Brealey pulled off a great reflex save to keep his side in the game and Radford substitute Alex Shipley hit a scorching effort that cannoned off the Badgers cross bar.
Deep into injury time, the referee sent off Retford captain Alistair Plant for a second bookable offence ... and the decibel level rose yet again.
Like I said, nobody wants to see Under 19's players dismissed.
However, taking into account the offence happened so late in the game, out on the wing, in the half that Retford were defending, maybe a lecture would've sufficed, in lieu of how the two transgressions at the end of the first half had been dealt with.

These two sides play each other again on December 1st, that could be an interesting game, because although Radford are now ten points clear at the top of the table, Retford United have three games in hand over them.
For the record, if Pinxton win all of their games in hand, they could overtake both of tonight's teams to go top of the table.
Things are hotting up.
Thanks to Jon Knight for some of the photographs I've used from this game.
Elsewhere tonight:
In my absence (again) Harworth Colliery Institute won their second game on the bounce in the NMU19L Division 2 and will be fired up in anticipation of a third consecutive victory next week too.
See here for details -->
... and you thought I went on (and on ... and on), sorry Hasan, I couldn't resist mate.
Meanwhile at Field Mill, the Stags Under 19's hammered Newcastle Town 7-0

Next up ... Handsworth U19's v the Tevie Boys