Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
at the Jones & Co. Arena, Cannon Park
Retford United (0) 4
Chris Funnell 51, 57
Jermaine Gordon 55
Charlie Sykes 59
Rainworth MW (2) 6
Aaron Moxam 8, 32
Matthew Sykes 63, 81, 87
Liam Morris 66
Admission £5. Programme £2. Attendance 107
Oh well, hold on tight, here goes nothing...
Even the NCEL website has posted the Retford United goalscorers in the wrong order and added slightly inaccurate time sequence details pertaining to today's game. But I guess this kind of thing is inevitable when an hitherto perfectly manageable game of football for all of the anally retentive statisticians present (don't knock it until you've tried it), suddenly erupts into a goal fest, free for all.
Make no mistake, Jamie Davies and Ben Townsend are both competent, capable and accomplished goalkeepers, but generally speaking they probably prefer not to play when they aren't afforded any protection whatsoever by a defence that is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard.
It's all well and good when defenders charge off up the field to muck in with their attackers, but they need to be astute enough (or even fit enough) to track back when their own goal is under threat.
By half time, Davies must have been wondering if some of his AWOL team mates had decided that he could play against Rainworth on his own this afternoon.
Everybody likes a trier and you couldn't fault the Badgers Jack Walters for his effort and non-stop today, but even he made a clumsy start to the game, when he exchanged passes with Jermaine Gordon on the edge of the Rainworth area, but fell over as he went for the return ball.
Declan Brewin burst through the middle of the Badgers defence and went to ground, but the referee, Martin Chester, was close enough to see that he'd merely 'fallen over' as the ball ran away from him and waved away a couple of half hearted but wholly optimistic penalty appeals.
Aaron Moxam played the ball out wide to Jordan Claxton on the left and played the ball back to the Wrens striker, who netted from close range, but the goal was ruled out for an offside offence.
But Moxam had the ball in the net again less than thirty seconds later, when Owen Heather slipped the ball through to him, as the Retford defence stepped out en masse and left their keeper exposed. 0-1
Rob Ludlam tracked Walters as he broke down the left wing and as they brushed past each other, the Retford youngster hit the deck. Walters obviously has many attributes and has a good career in the game ahead of him, but conning referee's with theatrical falls isn't one of his talents.
He should stick to doing what he does best and count himself lucky that he wasn't booked for assimilation, in this instance.
Rainworth's first goalscorer Moxam, almost turned provider as he played Matt Sykes through, but Davies did well to stay on his feet for as long as possible and blocked the ensuing shot.
Davies saved Retford again, when he beat out a shot from Moxam, while the Wrens striker couldn't keep the ball on target from the rebound.
Brewin, completely unchallenged, rolled the ball sideways to Heather who scooped his effort over the bar.
Matt Sykes found himself in yards of space, twice, but missed a sitter with the goal at his mercy, then saw Davies pull off another stop to deny him moments later.
Keith Melvin was heading the ball away for United and looked good in the air, but on the ground, collectively, a back four including two players who don't usually play in defence looked awful.
Brewin played the ball in behind Retford's static back line and Davies thwarted Moxam yet again.
The Retford United keeper is renowned for barking out instructions to his defence, but his verbals were proving pointless today, because they were all too far away to hear him.
Right on the stroke of half time, Walters chipped the ball towards the visitors goal from the right hand edge of the penalty area and when Townsend punched it away under pressure, Wisdom-Lockwood got to the loose ball first but the visitors keeper saved with his feet.
HT: Jamie Davies 0 v Rainworth Miners Welfare 2
And that is no exaggeration. Rainworth had run Retford ragged and only the Badgers goalkeeper had kept his side in the game.
Heather and Matt Sykes combined as Rainworth attacked from the restart, but Ben Wyld intercepted and cleared the ball behind at the expense of a corner.
Chris Bettney (Yes! That Chris Bettney, who must be at least 67 these days, though he looks well on it), planted the ball above the Badgers penalty spot but Melvin cleared his lines... as Davies breathed a sigh of relief because his defence had finally made an appearance.
All of a sudden out of nowhere, a jolly Retfordian bloke called Brian who was sat beside me, exclaimed to everyone within earshot that: "If we get one, we'll get four y'know!"
I smiled benevolently and nodded, just to humour him, though I suspect that in spite of my silence as I bit my lip and suppressed a fit of giggles; that my facial expression was giving away what I was really thinking, i.e: "Shut up you daft old bugger, playing like this, this bloody shower won't score four more goals all season". But bloomin' heck!
You can pick my lottery numbers later old lad, because your outlandish prediction (in front of witnesses) and what happened next left everybody in the ground completely gobsmacked.
Retford United did indeed score four times over the course of the next eight crazy minutes.
For the record, Ludlam hasn't claimed the goal, so it's Funnell who gets the credit.
Within four minutes of their first goal United were level.
Gordon's shot was blocked and fell kindly for Funnell and he struck the ball first time, forcing a reflex save from Townsend, who parried the ball into the path of Gordon... he couldn't miss from that kind of range and the game was turned completely on it's head. 2-2
"There's still two more to come!" chuckled our Brian.
Thankfully he never heard me.
Young Walters, showing technique and composure beyond his years, raced forward with the ball and released it through the Wrens defence to pick out the run of Funnell who made no mistake from ten yards out. 3-2
Walters once again, proved the old adage that if you're good enough, you're big enough and old enough, when he had a hand in the Badgers fourth goal, forcing Townsend to run from his area to head the Retford wingers forward pass away, but his attempted clearance dropped for Charlie Sykes, who lobbed the ball over the stranded Wrens keeper. 4-2
"Four of 'em! You wouldn't believe me would you!?" Beamed our resident tipster.
Hands up, you're right Brian, I didn't.
And neither did anyone else.
Matt Sykes netted the first goal of his second half hat trick, when he picked up a pass from Phil Buxton and drilled the ball across the face of Davies' goal and it nestled just inside the far post. 4-3
Dillon O'Connor sprinted away down the left flank and Funnell and Jason Carter were a fraction away from scoring a fifth goal for the home side.
But Rainworth picked up their momentum again, from Townsend's goal kick and there was a scramble to clear the ball inside Retford's goaslmouth, but it glanced off of Matt Plant's head towards Liam Morris and he crashed home the equaliser from close range. 4-4
'What's your prediction now Brian?'
"Shurrup and get writing all of this lot down you!"
O'Connor tripped Matt Sykes as he advanced on Retford's goal, but the referee must've been too busy writing down all of the goal details, because he missed the foul completely.
Morris teed up the ball for Matt Sykes, the Badgers defence stood off him for a moment and that was all he needed, as he picked his spot and put Rainworth back in front. 4-5
With just three minutes remaining Moxam was seemingly seeing time out over by the corner flag, as he shielded the ball from three Retford players, who were battling to dispossess him. But Moxam slipped free of their attentions and squared the ball into the Badgers goalmouth, where Matt Sykes struck a firm shot past Davies to claim his hat trick. 4-6
In stoppage time, Walters got away from his marker, but pulled his shot just wide of Townsend's goal and it was too late for the home side to stage another fightback now.
FT: Retford United 4 (Four) v Rainworth Miners Welfare 6 (Six)
What a completely crazy game of football.
If I was either manager, I wouldn't have any complaints about any of my front players, but some of the slapstick defending would have driven me insane.
Ten goals though... it's a good job both goalkeepers are half decent.
One small but significant point to finish, well done to Retford United for finally having shirt numbers you can actually read and see clearly this season; these sort of things really matter and are of the utmost importance.