Thursday, 26 July 2012

Harworth Colliery Institute U19 2 v Retford United U19 2 - PSF

Thursday 26th July 2012, at Scrooby Road, Bircotes
Pre Season Friendly
Harworth CI Under 19's (1) 2
Matt Smith 24, Daine McGraine 76
Retford United (1) 2
Luke Walker 29, 65 (pen)
This game was hastily arranged earlier today, after Harworth Colliery Under 19's original opponents, Southwell St. Marys Reserves, were unable to raise a side to fulfil tonight's fixture, so respect is due to Retford United's Under 19's set up, for raising a team at such short notice.
The Badgers side included a mix of Under 19's, Under 18's and trialists ... including Alex Tittcomb who had previously spent some time at Harworth and who'd bagged a load of silverware with Lincoln United last season.
Sam Hutchinson, from Retford United's Under 18 side, faced Harworth for the second time in just over a week, having shone against them for Woodbeck Diagonals in another friendly match last Wednesday. He never fails to impress and Retford have got a very promising prospect on their hands in Sam.
This 'Bassetlaw Derby' was played on the smallest pitch of the three at Scrooby Road and was well attended by hundreds of irritating flying insects, who had been tempted out to play by the warm weather.
Lord help anybody who happened to be wearing a bright orange or yellow shirt tonight, because the irritating little critters are drawn to those colours no end.
The game was played in the right spirit and was well refereed by Dan Tracey.
A good work out for both teams, played pretty much in the spirit you'd expect in a friendly pre season warm up game, with nothing much at stake.
Both sides had several first picks missing, but it gave other players a chance to shine.
Retford began the game the livelier of the two sides, but over the 90 minutes, the game ebbed and flowed with both teams taking it in turns to try taking the ascendancy.
Overall, the draw was a fair result, though either side could've nicked a victory.
On 24 minutes, Matt Smith headed the Colliery side ahead, having arrived unmarked at the back post, to meet a square ball across the box from Lewis Francis out on the left wing.
Zak Oxby had a chance to level things up, almost straight away, at the other end, but he fired his free kick over the bar.
Zak's obviously spent a lot of time in gymnasiums since I last saw him, the guy is now massive. If you ever get tired of football Zak, I'm sure I can get you work minding the doors at Nightclubs in Sheffield.
The Badgers were soon on level terms though, when Luke Walker got on the end of a right wing corner, had his initial shot blocked and slotted the ball home at the second attempt off the upright.
Half time 1-1
Ten minutes into the second half, Alex Tittcomb had a great chance to put Retford ahead, but he powered his header over from close range.
It was an absolute sitter, but other than that he'd impressed people in his trial game, with a solid display at the back for the Badgers ... he's obviously come on in leaps and bounds over the last year.
The game had become a tight affair with both teams playing at a tempo dictated by the heat.
Luke Walker broke into the Harworth box and knocked the ball past Billy Ball, but the Harworth centre half stuck up his arm to check it's flight and the referee blew for a spot kick.
Walker took the kick himself to give the visitors a 65th minute lead.
Harworth's new signing Daine McGraine (or McGrain, or even McGrane, depending on who's spelling you believe), hit the upright as the home side went in search of an equaliser.
But with 15 minutes remaining, the striker with the archetypal wild west gun-slinger's (but often misspelt) name, turned Jason Swannack and fired the ball home to equalise from an angle just inside the Retford box.
I'll have to ask Daine himself to establish once and for all what is surname actually is next time I see him.
Both of Harworth's goalscorers used to play for the Retford United Under 19's manager Richard Williams when he was at Dinnington Town, but I was far too polite to mention it to him, when we shook hands and had a friendly chat in the bar after the game ... it won't have escaped my old mate's attention anyway.
Besides, the Badgers goalscorer, Luke Walker, had played for Harworth's first team last season (alongside Bobby Johnson who also played for Retford tonight), so the home side will have been well aware of his capabilities too.
Incidentally, good luck to Bobby Johnson who has signed up to play for Winterton Rangers in the NCEL this season, I'm sure the much sought after player will comfortably make the step up to that level.
Aaron Hutchinson had a good chance to win the game for Retford right at the end, but Tom Hogg did well to prevent a goal. Tom's looked very assured between the posts, in the three pre season games I've seen him play in so far.
Full time 2-2, my fifth consecutive drawn game.
A panoramic view of Harworth Colliery and the new Asda that's being
built next door to the community sports ground on Scrooby Road.

With the new season on the horizon, both teams will have found points to ponder over from tonight's game and will have seen areas where a few alterations and tweaks are required, but that's their business, so I won't comment on any of that on this impartial and neutral blog.
Now that the North Midlands U19 League has changed it's format to two divisions from three, Harworth won't get to play local derbies against either Retford or Worksop next season, unless they get drawn together in a cup competition.
But, I personally, think the streamlining of the divisions is a good idea.
Top class entertainment at half time, was provided to the crowd at Scrooby Road by a local comedy duo ... they're hilariously funny, but very good at the other job they do at Harworth Colliery too ;-)
'To me! To you!'

Next up: Friday 27th July, Staveley MW U19 v Chesterfield Youth, 7pm kick off.
My mate for the past two decades (you'd get less time for murder)
Richard Williams conducts his half time team talk

I was contacted today by a couple of Retford United fans, who seemed to be under the impression that some good natured banter I had with the Badgers Under 19's manager Rich Williams, after last nights game, constituted abuse and heckling of an opposition manager.
But, that's way off the mark ... myself and Richard have been good mates for years and we were just having a joke together.
We have spoken to each other about the misunderstanding today and both laughed about it.
For the record, Rich would only be in opposition to me if I was actually involved with any club Retford United were playing against, which I'm not.
I prefer to be a free agent.
Completely impartial, neutral and as unbiased as is humanly possible.
Last night's draw was the perfect result for me, because I have a lot of good friends at both clubs and as a consequence, I didn't want either side to lose.
No offence was ever intended to or by either party ... there's nothing to see here people, move along n' all that!
Rob Waite 27th July 2012