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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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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
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