Saturday, 21 November 2015

Retford United 2 v Rainworth Miners Welfare 2 - NCEL Prem

Saturday 21st November 2015
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Jones & Co. Stadium, Cannon Park
Retford United (0) 2
Jason Bradley 52, 55
Rainworth Miners Welfare (0) 2
Matthew Sykes 69
Jamie Yorke 90+4
Admission £6. Programme £1.50. Attendance 92
Had they not equalised late (very late) into stoppage time, the visitors would've been rueing a string of missed opportunities on a cold afternoon at Cannon Park come full time. But in the event, it was Retford who felt hard done by, for having battled their way to within a whisker of a win, but ultimately, only to have been denied by Jamie Yorke's stunning 94th minute strike.
United's Jamie Davies and Jason Bradley both fared well against their former club, who are back in the NCEL this term, having spent five years in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, before taking a voluntary drop back down to step 5 when they resigned their place in the NPL at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Julian Watts and Ady Smith who have previously managed the now defunct Wrens reserve side, have taken on the task of readjusting the club to NCEL level football... and following this afternoon's incident packed draw, they currently sit in a respectable 8th position in the premier division, six places and eight points above their hosts.
Though the pitch had been rolled earlier this week, the water table will always be a problem at a ground that was built on land that was previously a flood plain... and though the recent heavy rainfall in the area may well have dried up on the surface, due to the north wind that howls across the ground on days like this, it was never going to take much for underfoot conditions to deteriorate and start cutting up.
That is not a slight on the groundsman at Cannon Park, I hasten to add... soil technicians across the land deserve far more praise than they ever get at this time of the year, i.e. October to March, every season.
Purists in search of the dribbling code of the beautiful game and lovers of tippy tappy football, would have been best advised to go elsewhere today, because although the pitch wasn't entirely a quagmire by the time 90 minutes (plus the added 5) had elapsed, it was certainly what your friendly local turf accountant would call 'heavy going'.
Graft not guile wins the day on afternoon's like this and to that end, although both sides had good cause to think they deserved all three points, they both deserved something out of the game for slogging on until the final whistle.
Going off on a tangent for a few moments:
I have attended several meetings over the last month or so, that have taken place at Retford United, where some very serious debates and discussions have been ongoing, as the football club looks to rebuild internally... and although I have no hands on involvement with either of the teams that play at Cannon Park, I am happy to report that all fictitious tales pertaining to the imminent demise of football at this ground are grossly exaggerated.
Plans are afoot and an announcement via the local press is imminent.
The major stumbling block that has blighted football in this locality, i.e. a lack of transparency, has been conquered - and the worrying rumour that claims anybody joining the club in any official capacity will be liable for picking up the tab for inherited debts has also been dispelled.
Beyond that I can say no more without betraying confidences and compromising people's trust, or pre-empting the official announcement... so watch this space folks.
Good news incoming any time soon.
The Badgers have the right sort of personnel on board to steady the ship and move on towards a brighter future, but they still need more of them.
And the indecent amount of (so called) 'football people', who had hoped Retford United were on the brink of sinking without a trace and were spreading lies to that effect, can go and **** themselves. You know who you are... and so do I!
I shall toss a coin and decide whether to name you or not.
So, if you are an experienced local football club admin, who is in the market for getting involved at a forward thinking/moving step 5 non league club, working on solid foundations; get your CV up to date, because several opportunities will be available in the very near future.
Match details:
The first half was fairly scrappy as the two sides made hard work of mastering the conditions at times, Rainworth were in the ascendancy during the first ten minutes, when they threatened to camp out in the Badgers half, but the final ball was lacking... and when the Yorke shot from 25 yards out on the left flank during the opening exchanges, his speculative effort crashed against the underside of the roof of the stand behind the goal.
Apparently he was just practising his range for later on.
Retford's left back Jordan Hardman, ran 40 yards forward with the ball and knocked a through ball into the path of Adam Lee, but Ricky Hanson cleared the danger for the visitors as the two captains locked horns.
Adam Lee kept probing for an opening but was given little or no room to manoeuvre by Gareth Campion and his central defensive sidekick Jack Andrews.
Yorke attacked down the left flank again, but when he picked out Jack Barnett at the back stick, the Wrens number four hooked his shot behind the goal as another chance went begging.
Hardman and Brad Johnson carved an opening, but Connor Smythe turned the ball behind for a corner.
Johnson tried to take advantage of the conditions, with an inswinging flag kick, but Sam Leigh was alert to his ruse and tipped the ball over his bar.
As an indication of how sticky the pitch was becoming, Lee was frustrated as he burst through one on one with Leigh, but couldn't take advantage of the space he'd made because the ball held up in the mud as he galloped away.
Yorke's free kick was blocked by Davies and the ball rebounded to Sam Dockwray who unselfishly played it back towards Yorke who forced another save out of the Retford keeper.
Rainworth had two more chances before the break, when Davies saved a close range effort from Matt Sykes, who got his shot in despite the close attentions of two defenders... and Smythe shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy on the stroke of half time.
HT: Retford United 0 v Rainworth Miners Welfare 0
Retford looked more at ease on the ball after the interval. The half time team talk and a few tweaks to their playing system had done them a world of good, and the home side began imposing themselves on the game more than at any point during the first half.
Jason Bradley, right on cue to add the finishing touches to a supporters angst ridden outburst about him that went along the lines of: "He can't run, he can't tackle, he can't jump, he can't, oh.... goal!!!" rose in a crowded goal area to nod home a right wing corner at the back post, before cleverly wrong footing Leigh with a neatly executed back heel three minutes later, to put the Badgers 2-0 ahead.
You could probably say that the quick double was against the run of play given what had happened previously in the game, but the Badgers won't have minded too much about that, while Rainworth had left themselves a mountain to climb because of some wayward first half finishing.
Rainworth threw on Liam Theakstone to beef up their attacking options and the Wrens substitute, plus Sykes both had chances to half their arrears but only troubled Stuart the gateman who had to dash off into the car park to retrieve the ball both times.
But Sykes still knew the best way to beat Davies and foil the dogged Retford defence was to shoot on sight and on 69 minutes he belted a screamer into the back of the net from outside the area that left Davies clutching at fresh air.
The visitors were piling everybody forward as the clock ticked down but Retford were holding on and began putting the ball forward and into the corners to waste time.
In the dying seconds of stoppage time, Rainworth won a throw in out on the left flank, level with the Badgers 18 yard line.
A spectator knocked the ball back towards the pitch from up on the grass bank, the Wrens took a quick throw in, Sykes whipped a deep cross over the far side of the area and Yorke smashed an unstoppable volley into the roof of Davies' goal.
A fair result all told, Rainworth didn't deserve to lose, but such a late 'Fergie-time' goal was a sickener for the home side.
Retford United 2 v Rainworth Miners Welfare 2
The person who retrieved the ball and indirectly assisted Rainworth in pursuit of their late equaliser, was heard to say: "Oh s***! I've just cost Retford United two points!"
He is a local guy who lives really close to Cannon Park and writes a football blog called THE66POW.
D'oh! I hope nobody at the football club finds out.
Retford United's forthcoming midweek game at Worksop Town in the NCEL Premier Division is off, because the Tigers have a rearranged FA Vase game scheduled at Tadcaster Albion on Tuesday. As things stand the pitch at 'Taddy' is flooded and that game is already at risk, but the 'Bassetlaw Derby' has already been put back until some time in February now.