Saturday, 10 October 2015

Retford United 0 v Tadcaster Albion 1 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 10th October 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at Jones & Co Stadium, Cannon Park
Retford United (0) 0
Tadcaster Albion (0) 1
Josh Greening 89
Admission £6. Programme £1.50. Attendance 115
Left click images to enlarge
Ouch! The late sucker punch that saw Retford go down 1-0 to yet another one of the top 3 sides in the NCEL, must have really smarted.
A month ago, Handsworth Parramore left Cannon Park with all three points, after netting a stoppage time goal... and this afternoon, Tadcaster Albion repeated the trick in the very last minute of the game.
Make no mistake, although 'Taddy' obviously have a few stand out players in their team, which made the clinical difference right at the death, the Badgers manager Chris Sellars has the makings of an half decent side gelling together at the moment... and not a single one of them could be faulted for the effort they put in today.
The first half was fairly evenly matched, as the visitors tried chipping away at a resolute United defence, while Retford pushed forward to good effect on the counter attack several times.
Craig Laight, the Retford centre half, was looking solid and he got a foot in to deny Adam Baker a clear shot on goal early on, while Andy Milne, blocked Brad Kerr's close range effort at the other end.
Adam Carter teed up Kerr with a measured pass on 15 minutes, but the Retford striker's crisply struck shot cleared the crossbar.
There was a lucky escape for Albion, when Gary Stevens dropped Brad Johnson's free kick in the penalty area, but the visitors defence closed ranks and scrambled the ball away to safety.
Liam Ormsby picked out Josh Greening who took a couple of steps to compose himself before forcing a fine save out of Rick Watson.
The visitors were looking for a lead to take into the interval, but Andy Milne headed over the crossbar... and Josh Greening couldn't get his shot on target, after Dan Clayton had picked him out with a left wing cross.
Right on the stroke of half time, Adam Baker drilled a shot right at Mark Wilson, who bravely put himself in the way. Some of the visiting fans called out for a 'penalty', but the referee ignored the appeals and judged that if there was an infringement it was purely accidental.
You got away with that one Willy!
HT: Retford United 0 v Tadcaster Albion 0
Retford were dealt a blow when Brad Kerr hobbled off at the break and didn't reappear for the second half.
Jason Bradley came on in his place to make his United debut.
Tadcaster cranked things up at the start of the second half, as they looked to assert themselves on the game and live up to their star billing as league leaders, while Retford paid little heed to reputations and continued to scrap for everything.
Jordan Armstrong played a killer ball through the right channel to Greening as the Brewers found a gap in the Retford back four, but Rick Watson dived in at Greening's feet and gathered the ball, before the ever dangerous 'Taddy' number 7 could get his shot away.
Brad Johnson dropped a teasing ball over the visitors defence for his forwards to attack, but Stevens charged out of his area and unceremoniously smashed the ball back in the general direction of where it had just come from.
Mark Waters swivelled and shot, but put the ball past the right hand post of Albion's goal, while Ormsby repeated the trick at the other end, with a shot that spun just wide of the left hand (corner flag) post. He'll want to forget that one in a hurry.
Tadcaster had definitely decided to come out and play in the second half and the Badgers were having to weather a bit of a storm.
Greening was denied by Watson once again and when the ball rebounded back to him, his second bite of the cherry was blocked at the expense of a corner.
Greening's corner was only cleared as far as James Beadle, but he 'lumped' his shot over the bar.
United attacked and Jordan Hardman showed some nice touches before his cross to Adam Lee fell just wide of the Tadcaster goal.
Nick Black broke into the Retford area, but as the ball bounced up, Laight nudged it away with his elbow on the referee's blind side and the Retford fans in line with the incident breathed a sigh of relief.
But, within a minute, there was no way that a partially sighted match official, facing in the wrong direction could've missed Laight's next transgression, when he hacked down Greening as he advanced along a clear path to goal, just outside the area.
With just over half a hour remaining, Retford were going to have to keep out an increasingly threatening looking Brewers side, without Laight, who had run himself into the ground for their cause thus far, because the match referee Steve Meredith had no option but to brandish a straight red card.
It would be wrong to blame Laith for the final outcome to today's game, sometimes in football, a man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do.... and a rearranged defence lined up and blocked the free kick that resulted from preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity.
RUFC stalwarts
'Taddy' had the scent of a blood letting in their nostrils now, but while the ball was obviously in their court now, they began to lose a bit of composure and a few sloppy passes and missed chances, combined with the galvanising effect that going down to ten men had on the home side, saw the complexion of the game change in a way nobody present would have envisaged.
Dan Clayton made a 40 yard run before forcing Dec Lycett to concede a corner.
Retford cleared their lines and countered quickly. Adam Lee played a quality ball into the path of Bradley, who would've opened his goalscoring account for the Badgers, had it not been for the prowess of Stevens who turned the ball over the bar.
Moments later Hardman hooked a long pass from out on the right wing into the path of Bradley and Stevens air-kicked as he ran out to clear his lines; alas the loose ball fell at the wrong angle for Bradley to knock it towards the unguarded goal and as he tried to drag it back to where he could shoot from, Stevens managed to knock the ball over the goal line for a corner.
Tadcaster, realising that time was running out, decided that to see the game out on the front foot and they piled forward.
Black and Baker combined, but Watson plucked the ball out of the air.
Baker crossed to Greening, but he shot at Watson, who was playing out of his skin and didn't deserve to be on the losing side today.
Armstrong slung over a right wing cross, to Beadle who headed the ball over the bar... and Carl Stewart, a player with an eye for goal if ever there was one at this level, nodded another chance for the visitors just wide of the upright.
Stewart put the ball wide again with a long distance shot, as frustration began to creep into the visitors play.
Late in the game Retford had introduced Jake Outram in place of Wilson, who had battled gamely for 80 minutes but isn't quite as sprightly as he once was.
Outram launched a long free kick into the Brewers goalmouth, that only needed a touch, but it dropped wide of the post.
The ten men of Retford mustered up one final push and won a corner out on the left, Outram picked out Johnson, but the Badgers left back headed just over the bar.
Tadcaster had created more chances than their hosts (who had been unlucky in front of goal several times themselves), but found Rick Watson and his defenders to be in a stubborn mood and as the game entered the last minute and a goalless draw looked to be the most likely outcome.
I started to walk around behind the goal to make a quick getaway at full time and joked with a few of the Tadcaster fans that I know, that I had gone round there to get a photo of the "jammy late goal, or penalty that you lot always seem to get every week"
Who wants tonight's lottery numbers then!?
With just seconds remaining, Tadcaster broke through into a crowded Retford area, Greening flicked the ball into the air and continued his run, Stewart leapt and headed it back down into Greening's path, and he gleefully 'punted' a toe poke just inside the right hand upright, to break United's resistance.
'Taddy' had kept going until the final whistle, as is their wont and nicked all three points, with the only goal of the game, right at the very end.
Retford United will probably and justifiably feel that they were mugged, given the timing of the goal, but at the same time they should also be very proud of the way they played today, especially when they had to battle on with ten men, for the final 30 minutes or so, against such a good Tadcaster side.
FT: Retford United 0 v Tadcaster Albion 1
For the record, I didn't get a photo of Greening's goal.