Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Retford United 3 v Thackley 0 - Baris NCEL Premier Division

Programme from original postponed game inc. 8 page update/insert

Tuesday 1st May 2012, at Cannon Park
Baris Northern Counties East League, Premier Division
Retford United (0) 3
Warren Hatfield 46, Carl Haslam 74, Karl Slack 86
Thackley (0) 0
Admission £5, Programme £1.50, Attendance 338
Ta to 'Mr Retford United' Jon Knight for the team sheet.
Left click team sheet image to enlarge

So the scene was set.
A draw or a Thackley win and Bridlington Town would be Champions of the NCEL Premier Division, a Retford United win and Brett Marshall's Badgers would finish top of the table by a margin of one point.
After a whole day of respite from the rain yesterday, the climate was bloody awful again for most of today, so yet another pitch inspection was arranged for 4pm.
But once again, Cannon Park groundsman Steve Cliffe, worked his magic and the pitch was playable.
In fact, it held up so well to the rigours of this last game of the season, you wouldn't even know there had been any rain at all.
Well played Steve!
Retford threw everything at Thackley during the first half, but the visitors stubbornly manned the barricades and (just about) managed to repel a string of gilt edged goalscoring opportunities.
Of course, Thackley have beaten United twice already this season at their place, 2-0 in the League and 5-1 against an understrength Badgers side in the League Cup.
And as the teams went in level, at the end of a goalless first half, a few people began to question whether the Bradford based visitors might be a bit of a bogey side.
Those fears were allayed just a minute after the restart, when Warren Hatfield smashed the ball home from 18 yards out, to put United in front.
Though Thackley looked dangerous when they did get the chance to counter attack, Retford spent the majority of the second half camped in the visitors half.
The referee Stephen Wade restored my faith in human nature tonight, handling any flashpoints and difficult moments with calm rationale, while talking to players in a sensible and authoritative manner when required.
That made a refreshing change after what I'd witnessed in Lincoln last night.
On 74minutes, second half substitute Carl Haslam, latched onto an up-field clearance on the half way line, marginally sprang the offside trap at precisely the right moment, and charged off towards the Thackley goal, leaving his marker in his wake.
He took the chance himself (nobody else had kept up with him and was on hand to offer any support, in truth) and finished well.
The title was now as good as on it's way to Leverton Road (the posh end of Retford, where all the best people live), while a couple of onlookers from Bridlington, gloomily began to contemplate a miserable, long journey home tonight.
On 86 minutes, Carl Haslam drilled the ball across the Thackley box from out on the right and Karl Slack provided the finishing touch, which put the game out of reach and confirmed that Retford United are Champions.
Final score Retford United 3 v Thackley 0.
Congratulations Retford United, Baris NCEL Premier Division Champions, 2011-12.
And wherever you may end up next season, well done and good luck for the future Brett Marshall.