Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Pontefract Collieries 2 v Retford United 5 - NCEL Prem

Wednesday 28th October 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Harratts Nissan Stadium
Beechnut Lane, Pontefract
Pontefract Collieries (0) 2
Paul Haigh 84, Aaron Moxam 90
Retford United (3) 5
Brad Johnston 17, 64
Jason Bradley 26
Adam Lee 43
Brad Kerr 60
Admission £5. Programme sold out. Attendance 108
Pontefract Collieries:
Watson, Rouse, Corbett, Danby, Forgione, Lindley, Caton, Haigh, Radford, Moxam, Darley
Subs - Heeley, Lumb, Mawson, Whitehouse
Retford United:
Davies, Carter, Finnigan, Sellars, Hanson, Lycett, Waters, Johnston, Kerr, Lee, Bradley
Subs - Stuart, Hardman, Wilson 
Retford United have already won more games and accumulated one more point this term than they did in the whole of the 2014-15 season.
A dominant first half display put them firmly in control of the game on a damp and misty night at Beechnut Lane.
I've watched Retford a few times this season and they have always created plenty of chances, but just needed a bit more of a cutting edge in the final third.
Tonight they overcame their shyness in front of the opposition's goal and ironically it was a former Badgers goalkeeper, Rich Watson, who was on the receiving end as United's breaks into the box through the channels left the 'Ponte' defence looking flat footed and static at times.
James Finnigan, a left back who has recently signed for Retford from Staveley, had an impressive debut for the visitors and he was involved in the build up play that put Brad Johnston through, one on one, against Watson to shoot the Badgers ahead on 17 minutes.
Mark Waters effort was charged down by a defender, but the ball fell into the path of Johnston whose shot was turned against the crossbar by Watson, but Jason Bradley reacted quicker than the Collieries defence and headed the ball into the roof of the net as it ricocheted back into play. Bradley put in a lung busting shift tonight and deserved a goal for his efforts.
Josh Corbett thought he had halved the arrears for the home side, but the linesman's flag had been held aloft long before he nudged a close range effort past James Davies.
Adam Lee netted United's third goal as half time approached, via a free kick from just outside the area, that fizzed into the roof of the net, having taken a slight deflection.
HT: 0-3
Retford were playing it tight after the interval and not giving the home side much room for manoeuvre, while waiting patiently for the opportunity to finish the game off. It came on the hour, when Brad Kerr picked up the ball on the edge of the area and had all the time and space in the world to pick out his spot in the top corner of Watson's net with a peach of a strike.
At this point Rich Watson would've been entitled to point out that it was a bit unfair to expect him to keep out his former club single handedly, because his defence had collectively gone AWOL for the Badgers fourth goal.
4 minutes later the visitors put the game to bed when Brad Johnston left two defenders in his wake as he burst into the 'Ponte' box and bagged Retford's fifth goal with a thumping angled shot.
Mark Wilson netted for United in the middle of a goalmouth scramble, but his goal was chalked off as the Referee adopted the Duckworth-Lewis method of scoring, or something similar that escaped my attention.
Paul Haigh pulled a goal back for the home side with just six minutes to go... and Aaron Moxam, who had led the home side's front line all night, often all on his lonesome, without getting any change whatsoever out of a very solid and compact looking Badgers rearguard, finally got a sniff of the goal in the very last minute and took the ball past Davies before rolling it into the back of the net.
FT: Pontefract Collieries 2 v Retford United 5
A great night out with a few legends from the football scene in my local parish.
Having weathered a sticky transitional period for far too long... whilst watching many a decent soul fall by the wayside, both on and off the pitch, as the Badgers circumnavigated a particularly rough and rocky road; it is great to see that Chris Sellars has now put together a very decent looking Retford side, who look more than capable of cementing themselves a top half finish this season.