Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Retford United 0 v Handsworth Parramore 1 - NCEL Prem

Tuesday 1st September 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Jones & Co. Stadium (Cannon Park)
Retford United (0) 0
Handsworth Parramore (0) 1
Steve Warne 90+3
Admission £6. Programme £1.50. Attendance 138
David Reay, the Retford United keeper was, without a shadow of doubt, the man of the match tonight and although Andrew 'Archie' Sneath, Parramore's number 1, had to pull off a few vital saves too, it was Reay, who's commanding presence behind the Badgers defence, almost helped to secure a draw for the home side, a result that very few people would have have envisaged prior to kick off, when the teams were announced, confirming that the visitors were starting with their double spearhead of Jon Froggatt and Kieran Wells.
But in an end to end first half it was actually Callum Harrison who came the closest to breaking the deadlock, when he crashed the ball against Reay's crossbar, with the big, vocal United keeper well beaten (for once).
Whenever I have seen Retford play recently, they seemed to have been running out of a bit of steam the longer the game went on, but they gave everything and battled on right until the very last whistle tonight... having come out early from half time, for a second 'warm up' session, to keep them subtle and raring to go. It might only have been psychology, but it certainly did the trick.
Chris Sellars got his tactics spot on.
Although Handsworth obviously have players all over the park, who can unlock any team in an instant and deliver a killer blow, tonight Retford worked bloody hard to frustrate Peter Duffield's side and went toe to toe with them for long spells of the game.
I would go as far as to say, the home side played better than they had when they got a point against Garforth on Saturday, but in the (very) end, Parramore had just that little bit too much extra for them, even though the eventual winners were dead jammy to score when they finally did.
Handsworth will no doubt be used to playing on better pitches than the one at Cannon Park. Heavy rain in the hours leading up to tonight's game hadn't helped matters to that end.
With all due respect to the Retford United groundsman Brian Jackson, playing surfaces like the ones at Sandy Lane, Tadcaster and Staveley cost a lot of money... a commodity that Retford United have very little (if any) of these days.
Tonight's crowd was up roughly 40% from Saturday and the banter between the two sets of fans sat over in the stand was good natured and jovial.
Kieran Wells sprung the Badgers offside trap and tore off towards goal, but was pulled up because Jon Froggatt had timed his run all wrong and was flagged off. You could argue that he was peeling away from the goal and wasn't actually involved in play, but Jon Froggatt 'not involved' in and around the opposition penalty area. That takes some believing methinks.
For the record, the referee Sean Richardson and his assistants had a good game, in my humblest unbiased opinion.
Deep into stoppage time, when to all intents and purposes, a goalless draw and a point apiece looked to be on the cards, Steve Warne was picked out on the edge of the Retford area from a long Richard Adams throw in, he switched feet and rifled the ball through a packed goal mouth to cruelly break Retford's resistance right at the death.
On the balance of things, Handsworth had probably shaded the game, but the Badgers had slogged their way through 93 minutes of hard graft and deserved something for their efforts too. The home crowd certainly agreed as they joined in with the warm applause that both teams left the pitch to the sound of.
FT- Retford United 0 v Handsworth Parramore 1
On Saturday in the FA Vase First Qualifying Retford United travel to Blaby & Whetstone Athletic while Handsworth Parramore are at home against AFC Liverpool... good luck to both sides.