Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Newark Town 1 v Retford United 0 - Notts FA Senior Cup QF

Wednesday 7th March 2012,
at Station Road, Collingham
Notts FA Senior Cup Quarter Final
Newark Town (1) 1 - Ian Hillier
Retford United (0) 0
Admission £3, Programme £1, Attendance 174
This Notts Senior Cup fixture, attracted Newark Town's second highest crowd ever, for a game played at Station Road.
The largest recorded attendance was for a CMFL Groundhop Bonanza game when a multitude of neutrals and anoraks flocked to the Collingham ground.
Left click team sheet images for enlarged versions.
Ta very much, to David Hurstfield, Newark Town's Matchday Secretary for the use of these.
Top bloke!
Tonight, I watched a thoroughly deserved win for CMFL South side Newark Town, against their high flying NCEL Premier Division visitors Retford United, in an intriguing quarter final tie.
"I'm really proud of all of them" said the Blues (though they were playing in yellow and green) Press Officer (another top bloke) Richard Lane after the game.
The Newark team merited his praise too.
They worked really hard for this result.
3 minutes into the game, referee Declan Bourne pulled up injured and had to go off.
Luckily, a very competent match official, Rob Townsend, lives in Collingham and following a 12 minute break, while he got kitted up, the game restarted.
It was fortunate that Rob was around, because there was another match official in the ground too, namely Paul 'Harpo' Mayfield, but he's a bit dodgy and would've awarded everything to Retford United, who are his second football love after the relegation fodder that is Doncaster Rovers.
Retford had their best spell of the game shortly after the unscheduled stoppage to re-organise the match officials
Carl Haslam cut into the Newark penalty area but he fired over from an angle.
A few minutes later the same player found some space inside the D on the edge of the box, but Gary Attwood got down to turn his shot round the post.
From the resulting corner Attwood saved again, keeping out Corey Nightingale's header.
Newark had now worked out where the Badgers main threat was likely to come from and set up their stall to isolate the visitors danger men with a steadfast resolve.
Although the entire Newark side merited the plaudits on the night, their centre half and captain Richy Brewer was outstanding.
Play switched and Newark took the game to the NCEL side.
Callum Fraser's pass found Ian Hillier in a goalscoring position, but he didn't get enough of a contact to the ball to make it count.
But a few minutes later Hillier received a pass in the box for a second attempt and he well and truly made sure this time, to put the home side ahead.
Newark tried to keep up the ante and build on their lead, but Ben Porter's headed chance in the 6 yard box amounted to nothing.
With five minutes of the first half remaining, Callum Fraser's 25 yard effort flew over the Retford crossbar, as Newark continued to remind United that cup competitions are a great leveller and that they weren't just here to make the numbers up.
Retford's best chance of the half fell to Adam Scott on 44 minutes, but he missed the target and fired over from 5 yards out, putting the ball into somebody's back garden instead of finding the net.
After the break, some Retford fans stood nearby to where we were watching the game from, commented on how well Newark were keeping the ball down and playing a patient passing game, instead of resorting to kick and rush tactics to increase their lead.
Meanwhile, Richy Brewer and his defence were playing out of their skins to cut off the supply to Slack and Haslam up front for the Badgers.
With 15 minutes remaining, Carl Haslam was penalised for getting involved in the game whilst running back from on offside position.
A local wit shouted out "Have a heart liner, Hazza hasn't been involved all night!"
Ouch!
There was still time for the prolific Retford striker to make his detractor eat those words.
But in the event he didn't ... he almost did mind you, but not quite.
Adam Scott broke free down the right channel into the box, only to see his shot blocked by Gary Attwood at the expense of a corner.
Scott quickly took the flag kick himself and found Danny Hayes in space, but the United number 4 fired wide.
Newark had deservedly held on to their lead, but throughout the last few minutes, they did a passable impression of the cast from the Alamo fending off their Mexican attackers.
Karl Slack turned a Newark defender and knocked the ball to Carl Haslam, but he scuffed his shot.
Right at the death, Haslam dribbled into the box and played an inch perfect pass into the path of Karl Slack, he couldn't miss from there.
Err ... apparently he could!
Slack blazed his effort over the bar, out of the ground and into the nearby car park.
And Newark were just about home.
Haslam and Slack combined again in the last minutes, but the home sides dogged resistance saw them over the finishing line.
Harpo, Groucho and Chico

Not exactly a giant killing, but I think it would be fair to say that most, if not all, of the 174 spectators present (and probably both teams), would have been expecting an away win when this game got under way.
Ah, the magic of the Notts FA Senior Cup, eh!?
Newark Town played it just right tonight and resolutely stuck to their game plan.
OK, they rode their luck a couple of times when Retford United missed a couple of absolute sitters, but take nothing away from them, they were up for the challenge and really wanted the result tonight.
You could see how much it meant to them at the final whistle.
Well played Newark!
Footnote - Added Thursday 8th March.
Newark Town now face Clifton at home in the semi final on Wednesday 4th April 2012

Final word -
Brett Marshall, the Retford United manager said on the Badgers website:
"Well done to Newark Town good luck in the next round you fully deserved your place in the draw."