Saturday, 12 September 2015

Retford United 2 v Staveley MW 1 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 12th September 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
Jones & Co. Stadium, Cannon Park
Retford United (0) 2
Mark Stuart 72
Brad Kerr 78
Staveley MW (1) 1
Adam Scott 42
Admission £6. Programme £1.50.  Attendance 137
A few more crap pictures HERE
Retford have definitely grasped the nettle, as regards addressing the problem they had earlier in the season of keeping the momentum going until the final whistle.
They've even come out during the half time interval to have a warm up in preparation for the second half the last couple of times I have seen them play.
I don't think anybody would dispute that this win for the Badgers was a fair result on the balance of things over the 90 minutes.
The visitors took the lead just before the break, through a solo effort from the former Retford crowd favourite Adam Scott, who ran a full 40 yards before slotting the ball past Rick Watson.
Which ought to have set Staveley up nicely for the second half.
But Retford were having none of it and in the event, it would have been a travesty if Chris Sellars side hadn't got something out of the game, in lieu of their graft and application, especially in the second half.
Last week, Staveley succumbed to a hard working and well organised team, who battled gamely until the final whistle and today the similarities must've been quite worrying for those of the 'Trojan' persuasion.
The template for the Inkersall Road club this season, is a top nine finish whilst playing attractive football and blending in a healthy number of young players from the clubs successful development teams.
It isn't going to plan at the moment, but you tend to find out more about the people around you as regards mettle and reliability, when things aren't going your way... and your allies need to stand up and be counted.
It would be very easy for people to blame the Welfare manager, the former NCEL League title winning Retford United boss Brett Marshall, for the malaise and dark cloud that is hovering over Staveley Miners Welfare FC at present, but I will stick my neck out and say: that on the evidence of the past couple of weeks, it is actually a number of the players he has fetched in, who need their arses kicking, because he has put his faith in them but they have not repaid him, as of yet.
That doesn't apply to all of them obviously, but the few who are merely going through the motions and not putting a proper shift in, will know who they are.
Everybody else does!
Any chain is only as strong as it's weakest links.
Of course, it would be much more fun to blame the visitors chairman for all of the current ills and wrongs in the world, so let's pin the responsibility on him and get the "DAMMS OUT!" flags made in readiness for the forthcoming winter of discontent.
Staveley had to field a bit of a makeshift side today, with players like Matt Varley (who bust a lung for his side's cause this afternoon), playing out of position, due to a number of players not being available for a variety of reasons.
But that is a scenario that Retford (and a lot of other NCEL sides) face week in, week out and they just rolled their sleeves up and got on with it.
Adam Askwith asked questions of (another former Badger) Jason Fisher and his defence during the first half and the United winger was very unlucky not to have opened the scoring from a Brad Kell cross, that he narrowly failed to knock in by the left hand upright at full stretch.
But still, the visitors went into the interval a goal in front, thanks to Adam Scott taking the responsibility to find that elusive goal, into his own hands.
Some of the Staveley players emerged for the second half in body, but had seemingly left their spirit, inclination a desire hung up in the changing room.
Adam Scott and Joe Bayne, both threatened to double the lead for Staveley, but it just wasn't happening for them, as Retford began to impose themselves, gain control of the game and put the squeeze on their Chesterfield based visitors.
The home crowd could sense that their side were giving it all and responded accordingly.
In the 72nd minute, Mark Stuart's shot was blocked as the visitors defence employed an all hands to the pumps rearguard action, but the rebound fell kindly for Stuart who wasn't going to be denied twice.
The equaliser had been coming and Retford deserved something to show for their unstinting efforts.
Within minutes, United were in front, when Brad Kerr headed home, unmarked, from close range, which sparked a joyous celebration in the stand behind the goal, as the players and supporters bonded as one.
There might even be a pregnancy in the offing!
Alex Pugh nearly equalised for the visitors right at the end, but finally, at the fifth attempt, Retford have won a home game in the league this season... and their was nothing that a good number of their former players and staff could do to avoid it.
The hardy souls who had travelled over from Derbyshire to support their local team, were magnanimous enough to concede that the Badgers had thoroughly deserved their win this afternoon and while the raised voices of a couple of the Staveley coaching staff echoed around the emptying ground, the 'Trojan army' headed back off across to the perpetually dark side of the M1, to ruminate on what might of been, while the Retford players headed into town, in unison, to enjoy a few well earned beers.
FT: Retford United 2 v Staveley MW 1
Of course, this being the NCEL, it stands to reason that two sides with grounds that stand just 24 minutes apart (trust me, this time is 100% accurate (if you know where the speed cameras are) and I can vouch for this personally, because I could make this journey in my sleep if the need ever arose (and I probably already have done several times), it is so familiar to me), played each other at 3pm on a Saturday, while they both have lengthy journeys up into t'Yorkshire in midweek, with Retford going to Pickering and Staveley heading to Liversedge... typical innit!?
Mr Fixtures Secretary, you are a silly old sausage sometimes!
Well played Retford. The best team won.