Thursday, 31 January 2013

Retford United U19 2 v Staveley MW U19 2 - NMU19L Div 1

Thursday 31st January 2013,
at the Jones & Co. Solicitors Stadium (Cannon Park)
North Midland U19 League Division 1
Retford United U19 (0) 2
Sam Hutchinson 55, Brett Lucas 86
Staveley Miners Welfare U19 (1) 2
Steve Mansell 3, Sam Finlaw 57
Admission £2, Programme £1, Attendance 87
R McCracken, S Nesbitt, J Swannack, S Downey, B Lucas,
B Capsticks, A Colton, B Johnson, D Bacon, R Thompson,
S Hutchinson
Subs - M Mitchell, K Dennett, A Ellis, K Blow, K Patel, A Tittcomb
D Whetton, D Plant, B Meadley, B Jones, L Hayward, S Finlaw,
K Morley, J Fields, J Smith, S Mansell, R Walters
Subs - O Byne, R Bates, L Walker, C Lambert
The referee man marking Sam Finlaw
It's difficult to say anything about Staveley Miners Welfare FC at the moment, without alluding to the difficulties that the club currently find themselves in.
However, certain things I was told in confidence, at the beginning of the week, when I was at Inkersall Road, will remain in confidence and anybody else who is privy to the facts about the situation the club (and well respect individuals connected to SMWFC) are facing, should keep counsel too; until at least after Staveley have had the opportunity to try dealing with the immediate fall out themselves and have made some kind of official statement ... which I'm sure they will in the near future.
Good luck to all concerned, see you soon.
87 people braved an awful chill wind to watch tonight's game.
Obviously, word is spreading about the ever improving quality and standard of games in the North Midland Under 19 League.
Staveley weren't at full strength for this championship chasing head to head, but they still sent a very useful looking side to the Jones & Co. Solicitors Stadium tonight, including several players who will doubtless be thrust into first team action any time soon.
Retford, on the other hand, had a full hand to choose from, including Bobby Johnson, who's injury lay off was, thankfully, not as long as people originally feared it might be.
These sides recently contested a well fought draw at Staveley, where the Blues snatched a point deep into injury time, with a (very) late equaliser from Sam Finlaw.
The Badgers had just about done enough to warrant a victory that night, but Carl Vickers team showed a lot of resilience in chasing the game right until the final whistle.
Tonight, it was Retford's turn to snatch a point with a late equaliser, but the script was completely different from when these two sides drew 3-3 back in December.
Danny Whetton, the Staveley keeper pulled off a string of great saves and the visitors defence hardly had any respite from a lively and attacking home side all night, as United plugged away, but couldn't quite find that last killer blow in front of goal, to break Staveley's stubborn and often last ditch resistance.
Sam Downey, Retford's new midfield signing, combined well with Bobby Johnson to tie the midfield up, releasing their attackers, for a relentless assault on Staveley's rearguard, which United sustained for long periods of the game.
The visitors stand out players were, in the main, all defenders, with their keeper Danny Whetton deserving special praise.
If the young Badgers could've put this much application and desire into their recent cup defeat against Matlock Town, then they would still be in the hunt for more silverware.
That particular defeat saw their entire team, with the exception of Brett Lucas, collectively misfiring (and I'm sure they don't need me to tell them that). Tonight, they had regained their togetherness and cohesion, but just weren't getting the rub of the green.
The stiff wind was a big factor in Staveley's opening goal, blowing Alex Colton's back pass off course, which gave Steve Mansell the opportunity to pounce and roll the ball into the net, while the home side's keeper, Rory McCracken was stranded in no man's land, after just three minutes.
Jake Smith nearly increased Staveley's lead, from inside United's crowded penalty area, but McCracken saved well to keep the score down to 0-1.
Retford, then came to life and took the game to Staveley, pretty much for the remainder of the first half.
Goal line clearances, numerous close calls and quality saves from an overworked keeper, were order of the day up until the interval ... and mostly at one end of the pitch too.
But somehow as the half time whistle went, Staveley were still hanging on to their single goal advantage.
One moment in particular, that typified the first half, was when Sam Hutchinson, possibly having the best game I've ever seen him play for the Badgers U19s, found Reece Thompson with a defence splitting cross, only for his usually prolific strike partner to head the ball agonisingly wide of the post.
HT - Retford 0 v Staveley 1 ... *slightly* against the run of play.
It was ten minutes into the second half, before the home side finally got the goal that had been on the cards for quite a while, when Sam Hutchinson knocked the ball home after Danny Whetton had parried a shot away from Dec Bacon ... it was the very least that Hutchinson deserved tonight.
But just as everybody present seemed to be thinking that Retford would now build on their equaliser, Staveley went straight up the other end and Sam Finlaw, who makes a habit of scoring against Rich William's side, carved out a route to goal through the Badgers defence and put the visitors ahead again.
Unsurprisingly, Finlaw is in the first team squad for Staveley's trip to Pickering Town in the NCEL Premier Division.
As per the first half, United rolled up their sleeves and went back on the offensive ... but with the wind behind them now. Time after time, chances either went begging, or the Staveley back line fought tooth and nail to get the ball away to safety.
One effort from another Retford débutant Keiran Patel, reminded me why I always put my motor conveyance to one side of the RUFC car park since the Evo-Stik League made them take the safety net behind the Leverton Road End goal down.
But lets give Keiran the benefit of the doubt and call the distance he achieved 'wind assisted' ;-)
Former Retford striker Luke Walker, came on for Staveley, as they looked to alter things round and push for a two goal cushion, but his ex team mates seemed to be relishing the prospect of keeping Luke shackled and Brett Lucas and Shaun Nesbitt were enjoying that particular reunion.
Walker is already proven at this level and will do a good job at Staveley, just like he did at Retford.
Having been hit by the sucker punch second goal, Retford now shut up shop at the back, while the Johnson/Downey combination in the middle of the park, grew in stature as the game went on.
However, despite United having had the lions share of the attacking play, it looked as though the visitors were about to hold on and take all three points.
There is no doubting that the Blues (resplendent tonight, in yellow with blue trim) rode their luck a few times and had taken two (rare) chances well when it mattered. But I don't think anybody would've begrudged Staveley a bit of good fortune given the kind of week the club's been having.
However, the facts of the matter are, Retford United, who were now chasing the game, should have been home and dry, long before they embarked on a late salvage mission.
With four minutes left on the clock, Shaun Nesbitt was fouled, out on the right, 25 yards away from the Staveley goal.
Brett Lucas stepped forward and scored with sublime free kick to make the score 2-2.
Deep into stoppage time, Staveley denied Retford in 'Fergietime' yet again; when Danny Whetton pulled off an awesome save to prevent Adam Ellis from heading an Alex Colton cross into the top corner of the visitors net.
The moment is captured for posterity amongst Jon Knight's excellent photographs from tonight's intriguing game.
The home side could have and should have won, but Staveley held on.
THE66POW Man of the match: Danny Whetton.
FT - Retford 1 v Staveley 1
Next up: I'm at Denaby United v Harworth Colliery on Saturday, it's a friendly game, which kicks off at 2pm.