Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Retford United 2 v Radford 3 - Notts FA Senior Cup QF

Tuesday 19th December 2016
at the Jones & Co. Stadium/Cannon Park
Nottinghamshire FA Senior Cup Quarter Final
Retford United (0) 2
Mark West 57,
Jermaine Gordon 85
Radford (1) 3
Jahred Russell 33
Dave Udoh 88
Kadeen Brown 97
Admission £4. Programme £1.50. Attendance 52
Retford United:
Davies, Dickinson, Hardman, Waters, Campion, Lycett, Good, West, Lee (C), Gordon, Johnston.
Subs - Wilson, Jarrard, Roper, Finnigan, Igwe
Stainsby, Miles, Hopewell, Ramadan (C), Desrosiers, Meakin, Knight, Hinton, Udoh, Russell, King.
Subs - Campbell, Reeves, Brown, Burton, Dunning.
When a couple of us visited Selhurst Street a few weeks ago, to watch Radford play Radcliffe Borough play out an EMCL fixture that ended in a 4-4 draw; it was evident that the Pheasants will chase the game, right down to the wire... and don't give any situation up as a lost cause. In fact they salvaged a point after being 4-1 down with twenty minutes to go that night and could have won if Jahred Russell's penalty right at the end, hadn't come back off the woodwork.
But tonight's hosts have been improving no end of late, as they look to add a bit more stability and consistency into their game and they made current NCEL Premier Division leaders Handsworth Parramore, work damn hard for their win against the Badgers at the weekend. So it was always likely to be a close game tonight.
The Cannon Park pitch looked to be in need of a proper rest, but it was definitely playable, in spite of the way it cut up in places as tonight's game progressed.
Obviously, two hard working sides, slugging it out on a 'difficult' surface, at a brass monkey's convention of a cold night, in front of fifty two die hards, isn't a recipe that is ever likely to produce an 'El Classico' type encounter for the purists.
But what the game may have lacked in one or two departments aesthetically, it certainly made up for in drama.
Over the duration of the whole one hundred and twenty minutes, Retford ought to have won, in fact they should have been home and dry after ninety. But their 'never say die' visitors, showed an admirable amount of resilience, will power and fortitude... and that, along with them getting the rub of the green when they rode their luck at least a few times, is what saw the Hyson Green based club through to the semi finals of the county cup.
United attacked first after a slow start by both teams, when Mark West advanced towards the visitors area from midfield and was upended a few yards outside the goal area by Ruben Desrosiers.
Dead ball specialist Adam Lee got the resulting free kick on target, but Rich Stainsby in the visitors goal got his body behind the ball.
At the other end, Joe Meakin struck a free kick at the Badgers goal from twenty yards, but Jamie Davies gathered the ball comfortably.
Mark Waters gathered the ball forty yards from Radford's goal, saw off a challenge and slipped a pass through to Adam Lee, who's strike on the turn was deflected for a corner. From the flag kick, Brad Johnston delivered a telling cross, which Jordan Good almost opened the scoring from but his effort was cleared off the line and Dec Lycett was unlucky to see his shot clear the bar as he pounced on the rebound.
Jordan Good, worked himself some space just outside the area and spotted a gap in Radford's rearguard, but as he took aim, the ball 'misbehaved' on the tacky pitch and the Badgers number seven lofted it over the bar.
Lee was thwarted by Stainsby once again, but it looked as though a Retford goal was inevitable any time soon given that they were dictating the play at this point. But having failed to make good use of their almost relentless probing, Retford were undone by a counter attack and flash of solo brilliance from Jahred Russell, who surged into the goal area and picked out a spot in the top right hand corner of Davies' net with some aplomb.
In Jahed Russell and John King, Radford have two creative talents who can unlock even the most stubborn of defences. I rest my case m'lud!
Jermaine Gordon cued up Lee as the Badgers looked to pull level straight away, but the livel Retford skipper drilled the ball just wide of the upright.
Just as I was singing the praises of Russell, King and the Radford centre forward David Udoh, the former made me (and himself) look daft by spurning an easy chance and missing the target from six yards out on the stroke of half time.
HT: Badgers 0 v Pheasants 1
Carey Knight and Joe Meakin combined well, threading their way towards the Badgers goal from the restart and Russell was picked out with a slide rule pass into the area; he dropped a shoulder, swiveled and left Davies rooted as he took the ball past him and rolled it wide of the goal. On another night he could have had three goals already tonight, but the home side should have had a similar total themselves.
Stainsby did enough to prevent Lee from finding the net in a one on one shoot out after Jordan Hardman had played a good ball forward over the Radford defence to release his number nine.
But the Badgers captain was instrumental in Retford's equalising goal a few minutes later, when he took a pass from West in the centre circle, saw off a tackle and held the ball up well and then delivered a great pass back to West who had continued his run and drilled the ball past Stainsby before Radford had chance to cut off his route to goal.
Meakin dropped a free kick over the bar at the other end, but the home side were in the ascendancy now... and Radford were relying to last ditch tackles and frantic clearances to prevent the Badgers from taking the lead that their play thus far had warranted.
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Johnston and Waters both went close, as Radford's defence were battling to keep the Badgers at bay, but then in the 85th minute, West crashed a long range shot against the upright and the ball rebounded straight to Gordon, who made no mistake from eight yards out and buried the ball into the back of the net, to claim a debut goal for himself.
Their were just under two minutes left on the clock, when John King broke down the wing, evaded two challenges and got his cross away, Udoh had timed his run to perfection and headed home a last gasp equaliser.
In stoppage time, both Johnston and Waters were denied by the woodwork with Stainsby well beaten. When you're luck's not in!
90 minutes: Retford United 2 v Radford 2
The woodwork was having a busy night and right at the start of extra time it decided to swap allegiances, as a thumping free kick from Deakin went wide off of the right hand upright.
Radford attacked again and when the Badgers cleared their lines, the ball fell to Tyrone Burton who swung a cross into the six yard box from out on the left hand side of the goal area; neither side got a touch on the ball, but it didn't need one anyway as it nestled just inside the right hand upright, with Davies desperately trying to claw it away.
Ultimately Retford were beaten by a complete fluke of a goal, when, if they had been a bit sharper themselves in and around the Radford area, they would've already been in the semi final draw tomorrow by now.
With the home side now having to commit men forward on a salvage mission, it was Radford who actually looked the most likely to score again, from a counter attack, as they dug in deep to preserve their slender lead.
You've got to admire Radford's penchant for never knowing when they are beaten.
They have got a real 'no surrender' mindset... and it has stood them in good stead on both occasions that I have watched them recently.
Sometimes you have to make your own luck, but I don't think Retford United could've bought any tonight if they'd tried... they deserved more than they got out of this game, but that is the nature of knock out tournament football.
FT: Retford United 2 v Radford 3

Footnote: Added Wednesday 20th January 2016
Notts F.A. Senior Cup Semi final draw
Basford United v Rainworth Miners Welfare
Radford v Clipstone FC
Both games 7.45pm kick off on Tuesday 8th March 2016