Sunday, 26 February 2012

Retford United Ladies 0 v Nottingham Forest Ladies 13 - Nottinghamshire County Cup

An excellent finger tip save onto the left hand post,
but the spin on the ball took it over the line 0-5
Sunday 26th February 2012, at Cannon Park
Nottinghamshire County Cup, 1st Round
Retford United Ladies (0) 0
Nottingham Forest Ladies (8) 13
Admission free, No programme, Attendance 40 or so
An interested, though not entirely impartial onlooker, remarked to me, that there was very little in the way of any difference in the skill and ability levels of the two respective sides; but that Forest had won so emphatically because ... they wanted it more.
That's not quite how I read the game, but everybody is entitled to their own opinion.
I mean, yeah, Forest obviously wanted it more, a lot more, but you don't win 13-0 on desire alone.
Personally I wanted Retford to win, I wasn't impartial either, but they didn't because there was an obvious gulf in class between both teams.
In essence, it was a one sided mismatch.
And the only positive I can draw from the experience for United's Ladies is that they will have learnt a lot from facing a team of Forest's calibre.
In my humble opinion ... quite simply, the visitors dominated the midfield, broke down almost all of Retford's attempts (both serious and half hearted) to build up any attacking rhythm, intercepted the vast majority of up field balls, including goal kicks and attacked at will, down both flanks, through the middle and down the channels, whenever they won possession or United's Ladies gave the ball away.
Certainly Retford United have several players who look comfortable on the ball, who will battle for the cause and cover their team mates backs, while talking a lot of sense and cajoling their colleagues along.
But Forest have players like that, throughout the team.
And strength in depth on the bench too.
Though to be fair, I couldn't really make an assessment on the visitors keeper because she only really had a couple of stray long balls and comfortably weighted back passes to deal with.
At half time, I joked, that with the score still being a mere eight goals to nil in Forest's favour, United had now lured their esteemed visitors into a false sense of security and would turn the game around in the second half.
They nearly did too.
Well, sort of, if you're open to a bit of fibbing.
Going all Rob Hornby on you for a brief moment ... "I had a lovely cuppa" with my old school friend Sandra at half time (she was my friend at school, therefore she must be old), who runs the food counter at Cannon Park (which is open for all games inc. Ladies, Under 19's, youths etc.), who asked me if I knew if there would be extra time in the event of a draw, meaning she'd have to stay open longer.
Hmm, I suspect whoever had been keeping her up to date with the score had passed on some duff information then.
And then some!
OK Retford!
The second half fightback starts here!
Albeit very briefly.

However, the much anticipated fight back, lasted only two minutes into the second half, when the Badgers conceded a hotly disputed penalty.
Well, in truth, only one person 'hotly disputed' the decision.
And the vulgarity she aimed at the referee after he had explained his decision ,earned her a booking.
I think the official took into consideration that the game would become a complete rout and a bit of a farce, if he sent a Retford defender off, so the yellow card was possibly a sympathy vote on his part.
Either way, the caution was for the rude words aimed his way and not for what looked to me to be a genuine attempt to clear the ball, which saw two players get tangled up.
A soft decision to be awarded, a harsh one to concede. I can understand Lydia White's frustration.
A team as efficient as Forest Ladies don't miss penalties.
Young Cassie Ellis, one of the Retford players who "look comfortable on the ball, who will battle for the cause and cover their team mates backs, while talking a lot of sense and cajoling their colleagues along", had tried as hard as anybody to keep the momentum going against all the odds, as an outfield player in the first 45 minutes.
But her first action of the second half was to recover the penalty from the back of her net, having taken over between the sticks at the break ... a real team player!
Forest's 11th goal made the anticipated 2nd half fightback seem unlikely

The goals hadn't dried up yet for Forest though, and they kept on coming at alarmingly regular intervals.
Their twelfth just about summed up United's afternoon.
A right wing cross (see below) cleared everybody and looked to be going harmlessly wide, but the ball bounced, changed direction and rattled back into play off the post, it hit a Forest player and ricocheted off her into the goal before she even had chance to try connecting with it.
They all count!
It finished 13-0.
In spite of Retford venturing deep into the Forest half a couple of times towards the end of the game, they never really looked like scoring and the visitors keeper, who must've been feeling dead lonely for most of the game, probably won't need to have her kit washed this week.
Respect due to the Forest Ladies, they were highly entertaining and enjoyable to watch.
I hadn't really known what to expect from them before I ventured out to get some fresh air and sunshine this Sunday lunchtime, neither evidently had an understrength Retford United Ladies side.