Toolstation NCEL League Cup 3rd Round
at Jones & Co, Stadium, Cannon Park
Retford United (3) 3
Jason Bradley 8, 10, Adam Lee 45 pen
Thank you to Chris Sellars for confirming the Retford goalscorers.
Armthorpe Welfare (3) 5
James Handley 24, Stuart Preston 37, Craig Aspinall 44
David Buck 60, James Walker 68
Admission £6. Programme £1.50. Attendance 56
A rampant ten minutes of impressive foreplay and penetration from all angles, topped off by reaching their nadir of intent twice within 70 seconds, after only ten minutes... and then flop, nothing but an occasional twitch, as the visitors went solo for most of the remaining eighty.
A real anti-climax for the Retford United supporters, after inflaming their passion and raising their hopes, you could say.
The home side broke forward at pace, attacked the Armthorpe defence with menace from the off and had their visitors on the back foot, as they raced into a two goal lead in the early stages of the game... but thereafter, they weren't very good at all tonight.
In the aftermath of defeat the official Retford United twitter feed carried the message: "Really can't put the words on here how poor we were tonight!! Least said the best!", while Chris Sellars, the Badgers manager posted: "Apologies to the Badgers that came to watch tonight, simply not good enough, another chance to show some character", both of them perfectly summed up the night from a Retford United perspective.
From the outset, besides Jason Bradley's two goals, it had started so well for United, with Brad Johnson attacking the Welfare goal straight from the kick off, only to be stopped unceremoniously by Tom Dorgan scything him down and going into the book inside the first thirty seconds.
Adam Lee dropped the resulting free kick just wide of the left hand post.
Mateusz Zaniewski in the visitors goal, blocked a shot from Bradley and Lee knocked the ball wide from the rebound and moments later Adam Carter's left wing cross had dipped narrowly over the crossbar.
But having dusted themselves down from Retford's ten minute 'power play' Armthorpe set about the task of getting themselves back into the game and once James Handley had pulled one back for the visitors, when he shot from 15 yards through a crowded goal area, the life seemed to drain out of the Retford players. as their opponents grew in stature.
And then Craig Aspinall was on hand in the forty fourth minute, to turn the game completely on it's head when he added the finishing touch to a cross cum shot that was crashed across the face of the Retford goal, from the left hand side byline.
In first half stoppage time, Johnson raced into the Armthorpe penalty area and went to ground as he tried taking the ball to the left of the keeper who was charging from his line and the Retford player appeared to trip over Zaniewski's outstretched arm.
The referee pointed to the spot and showed the Armthorpe stopper a straight red card.
Personally I thought a spot kick was punishment enough without dismissing the visitors keeper, because Johnson and the ball were actually heading away from the goal at that specific moment, but what do I know, eh?
I suppose he could still have directed his shot on target.
Either way, Adam Lee made no mistake from the spot and the teams went in for half time on level terms.
Jim Walker's wind assisted free kick from out on the left wing skimmed just over the top right hand corner of Retford's goal, Handley had a thumping shot from outside the area charged down and Tom McLaughlin knocked a great chance to put the visitors ahead over the bar.
Walker, mindful of how the wind had behaved from his free kick a few minutes earlier, swung a left wing corner just under the bar and in spite of some goal line exertions from Davies and his defence, the ball ended up in the roof of the net and the visitors now had a two goal cushion.
McLaughlin tried to repeat Walker's corner kick trick, from out on the right wing, but the ball fell just wide of the left hand post without taking a touch.
Far too often the Badgers got possession in the middle of the pitch and were wasteful, pumping long balls down the middle, instead of looking for other options when that route evidently wasn't working.
Armthorpe could have rubbed salt into Retford's wounds when McLaughlin made a clear forty five yard run from the centre circle, but the ball held up on the sticky pitch and Davies advanced from his line quickly enough to save the Welfare number 9's shot.
FT: Retford United 3 v Armthorpe Welfare 5
A well deserved win for Armthorpe in the end.
With Micky Norbury now joining up with the management team of Brian Johnston and Ben Muirhead at Church Street and the Welfare having chalked up back to back wins over the past four days, it looks as though the tide could be turning for 'the Wellie'.
Though my friends at Retford United probably won't thank me for saying this... and much as it pains me to be critical about anything to do with the Cannon Park club, knowing how hard some people are working to keep the club in existence (including their manager Chris Sellars) behind the scenes; in my humble opinion, the Badgers players need to take a leaf out of Armthorpe's book and start showing the same sort of desire that their south Yorkshire visitors did tonight, because that is one department they were sadly lacking in themselves.