Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Retford United 1 v Liversedge 2 - NCEL Prem

Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Retford United (1) 1
Brad Johnson 9
Liversedge (1) 2
Rob Thomas 37
Joseph Walton 90
Admission £5. Programme £1.50. Attendance 94
Liversedge were without the Under 19 players who have been supplementing their line up as they overcame a fixtures backlog, while finishing the season with a six game unbeaten run, in which time they've escaped from the drop zone and leapfrogged Retford United tonight to finish the season in a very respectable 14th place, which bodes well for next season if they can avoid the problems they suffered because of the OTT rainfall that Cleckheaton suffered from this winter and beyond.
For the record, the Sedge U19 team, who've impressed me no end when I've watched them this season, beat Thackley 7-0 tonight.
The Badgers finished this campaign with more than twice the points tally they limped over the finishing line with last season, which, if you were to take on board the macabre theatre that has provided a backdrop to the past nine months, is actually a bigger achievement that it might seem in the fianl reckoning. Respect to everyone who steadied the ship and kept it moving forward at a sensible and just about sustainable pace.
Elsewhere tonight, relegation issues were settled when Pontefract Collieries suffered a 6-1 reversal against Handsworth Parramore, which was the perfect response to the doubters who had said Micky Godber's side wouldn't be trying now that they had nothing left to play for, with both Jonathan Froggatt and Keiran Wells hitting the total of 40 goals apiece for the season.
The Amber Parras win spared Armthorpe Welfare from the drop, as Ponte joined the other relegated sides Brigg Town and Nostell Miners Welfare in Division 1 next season.
Cleethorpes Town won 1-0 at Bridlington Town, whilst Tadcaster Albion saw off Albion Sports 2-1, in the NCEL League Cup semi finals... the final will be played at Garforth Town on Saturday 14th May, see you all there!
Jermaine Gordon tries scaring Joseph Walton
with some plastic fangs he got from a Xmas cracker
But back to Cannon Park, or the Jones & Co. Solicitors Stadium, to give the Badgers home it's full and proper name, where two sides who are both already clear of the relegation places, went head to head with the players they have available, on a pitch that was in severe need of a haircut.
Obviously, the surface wasn't ever going to allow either team to create beautiful geometrical patterns, or weave a rich tapestry of artistry for the purists to savour, but credit to both sides for giving it their all in the hard graft and full on commitment stakes as Liversedge proved to have just that little bit extra in reserve, right at the end, to grind out a result.
The Badgers pressed from the off, cut struggled to find the final touch inside the opening exchanges, while Joseph Walton, leading the line for Sedge, settled into the night's one against one 90 minute personal dual against Jermaine Gordon
Jon Rimmington, captured in a rare moment of tranquility
Retford took the lead after 9 minutes, when their captain got to the ball first as the visitors tried to clear lines and spanked it past Christian Thewlis via the right hand upright.
At the other end Gordon fouled Walton just outside the area and Brandon Kane's free kick was cleared behind at the expense of a right wing corner, which found it's way through to Kane on the edge of the area, but he shot over from 12 yards out.
Walton and Kane advanced towartds the Badgers goal, but United's defence closed ranks in front of them and Gordon put his foot through the ball to clear the danger.
Thewlis got a lucky break when he battled with Reece Hands and Christian Savage for a loose ball at the foot of his left hand post, but amidst the struggle the ball went out for a goal kick.
Kane and Walton sprung up in the Badgers penalty area again, but in spite of them having two bites at the cherry, the home side cleared the ball away again.
Marc Lumb saw a gap ahead of him and covered forty yards down the left flank, before delivering a pin point cross into Jamie Davies six yard box, but James Finnegan and moved in from his left back berth to clear the ball away.
The clearance gave Retford the opportunity to push forward again, but although Johnson impressively cut a swathe right through the middle of the visitors defence, his final shot let him down. 

The visitors were level on 37 minutes, when Kane delayed his run to stay onside, before surging forward with Rob Thomas to his right, who he rolled the ball in front of to finish from ten yards out.
The home side had a half chance to regain the lead just before the break, but Savage could only hit his shot straight at Thewlis.
HT: 1-1
The second half wasn't massively entertaining as it became congested in the midfield that both teams were having to share with a tribe of Pygmies who had made their summer camp in the long grass.
Gordon hacked a long punt out of the rough for James Binney to run onto, but Thewlis came quickly off his line and got their first.
Thomas took flight and weaved his way through the Retford back line in a manner akin to John Barnes at his best, when he scored a 'wonder goal' against Brazil back in the day, but the Badgers were always better at the back than the Samba boys and he was snuffed out before he could get his shot away.
Jamie Davies
Craig Tonkinson was unlucky to see his free kick from just outside the Retford area (below) dip over the crossbar at the last moment. Several people thought Davies had got a touch to keep the ball out, but the referee didn't and there were no appeals as the referee awarded a goal kick.
In their eagerness to keep Liversedge out, United conceded another free kick outside their area, but Kane struck the dead ball straight at Davies who saved it with ease.
The Badgers seemed to be in or around the last third, around the visitors penalty area for the final five minutes, but their efforts to break the deadlock were somewhat lacklustre... in fact I will bring this report to a close by repeating verbatim exactly what I scribbled down in my notebook:
"Retford spent the closing stages fannying around with the ball too much in front of the Liversedge goal, but they lacked any real penetration, which allowed the visitors to break quickly in the very last minute, in a direct but very effective manner, cutting out the leg work on this grassy pitch, which gave Walton the opportunity to squeeze home the winning goal from a tight angle ,on the left hand side of the Badgers area"
So there you have it. 
An away win for Liversedge on the night that an intriguing league season came to an end.
FT: Retford United 1 v Liversedge 2
Safe journey home Milly and Co.
Well done for keeping RUFC afloat and proving all of the doubters wrong to everyone involved.