Central Midlands Football League (North)
at the Jones & Co, Stadium, Cannon Park
Will Tomlinson 5
Harworth Colliery (1) 2
Greg Archer 45+ pen, Mickey Davies 88
Admission £3. Programme £1. Attendance 165
For more photos from today's game click HERE
This is the real 'Bassetlaw Derby', borne out of the grassroots end of the local football spectrum, that local MP's don't even bother to visit once every five years when there is an election.
It's where local players turn out for their local teams and represent their own communities.
And 165 people (inc. stuart Yates) turned out on a gloriously sunny afternoon and headed for the the green and pleasant outskirts of East Retford, to show their support for the beautiful game... and were treated to a half decent football match into the bargain.
And at the end of the afternoon, Harworth left to head back up the Great North Road in a happy frame of mind, having bagged all three points and the local bragging rights... until next time the two sides meet at least.
Harworth began to find their mojo and went in search of an equaliser. But when Retford conceded a free kick twenty yards out, Josh Davies' thumping shot cannoned back of off the home sides wall and though Jordan Hardman picked up the ball and tried to set Marley Alder free down the right wing, the ball went for a goal kick before the Colliery U19's graduate could deliver a cross.
The game was being played at a cracking pace, but must have been a pleasure to officiate and all the referee Ian Jackson and his two assistants Wayne Davenport and Sam Fisher, contributed to the afternoon's entertainment by adopting a common sense approach to help the game keep flowing.
It's a real ball ache when referee's kep stopping and starting the game for niggly and insignificant reasons, but you barely noticed Mr Jackson nad his officials today, which by my reckoning is a reliable indicator of how well the officials have carried out their duties. Credit where it is due I say!
Sam Clarke tore past Hardman and crossed for Tomlinson, but the ball skimmed off his head and went wide.
Back at the other end of the pitch, Ryan Elkington kept Alders angled shot out with his feet and as Greg Archer delivered a deep flag kick into the home side's goalmouth, Tomlinson got in Harworth's way with his considerable presence and headed the ball to safety.
Clarke picked up a loose ball and tried his luck from long distance, but Wibberley went down onto one knee and got behind the ball.
Joe Knowles thumped a long ball in towards Tomlinson, but when Greg Fox and and Musse Gabdon both bounced off of 'Big Will' as they went in to challenge him, the ref blew up and gave the visitors a free kick, seemingly penalising the Retford striker for being big and standing still.
Fox recovered from his fall but was soon in the wars again at the other end, when Hardman won a corner for the visitors that Josh Davies picked Archer out with just outside the Retford goal area, but his full bloodied blistering shot bounced to safety when the ball struck Fox.
Elkington saved well when Mickey Davies broke forward on his own as the Colliery started to see more of the ball and get on top of things.
After the area had been cleared of players, Archer took no notice of the stalling tactics and didn't allow his focus to waver for a mooment as he calmy sent Elkington the wrong way and planted the ball into the top right hand corner.
It had been a fairly evenly matched first half, but Retford will have been gutted to have conceded a goaljust bbefore the whistle sounded for the break, but if they had been paying attention there was a lesson to be learnt there, that culd possibly come in useful later in the game.
HT: Retford FC 1 v Harworth Colliery 1
|Archer on target... 1-1|
At half time I was asked if I was genuinely approaching todays game from a neutral perspective, given my connections with and affections for Harworth Colliery FC.
Of course I was! What a preposterous allegation.
And anyway, by that point, I had already decided that I was going to cheer loudly and jump around like a demented loon whoever scored the next goal.
So Retford had just as much of a chance of earning an OTT demonstration of my adulation as the victorious Colliery lads did. So there!
Both goalkeepers were straight into the thick of it as the game restarted, with Wibberley punching the ball away from Tomlinson, while Elkington did well to keep Chris Pickles at bay.
Tomlinson rolled the ball forward for Clarke torun onto but Wibberley charged out of his area before launching the ball into orbit.... "Ave it!!!"
Davies was soon back on the attack and when Knowles blocked his attempt on goal, Huudson shot over from the rebound.
Jason Swannack made a timely interception as Kenzie Tomlinson showed a few neat touches to get himself into a position to shoot.
Clarke went to ground after colliding head on with Fox and though some of the home fans called out for the ref to blow up for obstruction, the official had seen nothing wrong in what happened and probably took into account that Fox wouldn't have meant any harm, he was just too bleedin' slow to get out of the way.
Mickey Davies timed his run to perfection as Pickles lobbed the ball into his path over a flatfooted Retford backline, but the Colliery striker knocked the ball just over the bar.
Memo to Retford defence: that was a useful set piece Harworth just executed you'd do well toprevent it from happening again.
Tomlinson crashed to the ground after Fox toppled him and while I was taking a call from my wife, telling me that all of her ornaments had just fallen off of our mantelpiece and asked if I'd experienced the earthquake too, Knowles free kick was saved by Wibberley.
Mickey Davies went close again after Sam Westerman had put Retford on the back foot with a thirty yard run forward.
Callum Rush carried the ball forward through the right channel but shot over the bar with Wibberley advancing fromhis line to meet him. Harworth fave the ball away fromthe goal kick and Clarke launched a telling ball towards Tomlinson, but though he steered his shot towards the bottom right hand corner, Wibberley got across well and manged to keep the ball out at full stretch.
Right, you remember how we were talking about Retford keeping things tight as the referee consulted his watch this time around and how dangerous Mickey Davies looked when he ran through the defence onto through balls?
Well, with just under two minutes to go, Davies started to make his run just as Westerman dropped a long pass over the Retford defence and this time the Harworth striker kept his shot down and the visitors were ahead for the first time in the game.
I kept my promise and fulfilled my obligation to celebrate the next goal wildly, then sat back down to continue writing a neutral overview of the remaining few mooments of action.
Karl Slack almost equalised, as the game went into stoppage time, but his shot deflected wide.
Swannack swung the corner kick into the Harworth six yard box but Archer hooked it away.
The crowd held their collective breath as the former Harworth midfielder Ollie Chappell took aim from twelve yards but his effort ricocheted off of one of the two dozen or so Colliery players who were crowding out their goalmouth and that was that.
Harworth had won the first real Bassetlaw Derby of the season.
FT: Retford FC 1 v Harworth Colliery 2
|Nail biting closing minutes|
I will be at Scrooby Road on Friday night to watch Harworth Colliery playing against Appleby Frodingham in a CMFL North fixture (7.45pm) and after today's showing I will be making the effort to watch Retford FC in action again ASAP.