at Cannon Park, Leverton Road, Retford
Retford FC (1) 5
Arron Blakey 4, 68, 89, Luke Tong 75, Paul Middleton 83
Walkeringham FC (0) 0
Retford FC are a newly formed Central Midlands League club, who were borne out of last season's Retford United development teams, but who have now gone it alone with their own identity and have signed a good number of 'slightly' older and one or two 'vastly experienced' local footballers, to supplement and enhance their ranks.
A representative from another local club offered me a job tonight, I think he was being tongue in cheek though. Locally everybody knows that when Cannon Park was built, it was no coincidence that it was erected on a site that was halfway from the the town centre to Rampton Mental Hospital, a convenient staging post on an inevitable two part and one way journey.
Before the game I had a brief chat with the home side's striker Arron Blakey, who has been sidelined with injury for a while since our paths last crossed at Harworth Colliery FC, it was good to see him getting his touch back this evening. Arron is a confidence player, who's self belief gives him that bit extra in his tank and tonight's match winning performance will have boosted his mojo no end.
'This should be like shooting fish in a barrel' opined a local onlooker before kick off, 'these lot are only Gainsborough League players' but Walkeringham actually gave a very good account of themselves and competed well until Retford turned the screw on them for the last 25 minutes.
Blakey (of course) opened the scoring when he threaded the ball neatly past the visitors keeper after just four minutes, having got free of his marker with a burst of pace through the left channel... and the ensuing 86 minutes must've looked like a daunting prospect for the Sunday side.
But, as things transpired, they hadn't just come to make up the numbers up and a lively and competitive game of football broke out on a 'four seasons in one day' night weather wise.
But once Retford's second goal finally came, in the 68th minute, when Blakey (again) smashed the ball home from 12 yards through a crowded penalty area, it signalled a seismic shift in the game, which from then on in was a case of one way traffic towards the Walkeringham goal.
A Luke Tong free kick from 25 yards out, took a wicked deflection that wrong footed the visitors defence and keeper on 75 minutes and shortly afterwards Phil Middleton killed the game off with Retford's fourth.
Inside the last two minutes Arron Blakey claimed his hat trick to put the icing on his man of the match performance, when he curled the ball into the top corner of the net from just outside the left hand side of the visitors penalty area.
FT: Retford FC 5 v Walkeringham FC 0
For those of you who are wondering, Retford Town FC, who played on Cannon Park last season as well as Retford United, will now play home games on the Oaklands Sports Ground, just off of Caledonian Road, next season.
Retford is fast becoming a veritable hotbed of football these days.