Saturday, 3 September 2016

Retford FC 0 v FC Bolsover 7 CMFL North

Saturday 3rd September 2016
Central Midlands League (North)
at the Jones & Co. Stadium, Cannon Park
Retford FC (0) 0
FC Bolsover (2) 7
Josh Parfitt 8
Josh Thomas 34, 60, 86
Josh Scully 49
Danny Russell 69
Joe Ballinger 75
Admission £3. Programme £1. Attendance 49
For a few more photographs from this game click HERE
So I drove home (or possibly even aquaplaned for several miles), back up the M1 from this morning's 6-0 win for the young Stags in Loughborough v Burton Albion, but carried on past several grounds that had been on my shortlist for today, because I really needed to get home and get out of my soaking wet layers of clothing before I caught pneumonia.
But hey! That first half this morning alone would've been worth the inconvenience.
I'll spare you the finer points, but I even had to wring my socks and kegs out, before slipping into some dry ones and grabbing my "my last clean dirty shirt out of the wardrobe" (give yourself a gold star if you recognise the lyrical reference therein) and shooting off back out again the quarter of a mile or so to Cannon Park for my second game of the day... did i already mention that the Mansfield Town U18 team were victorious in my first game of the day, by six goals to nil against Burton Albion at a Ministry of Defence College near Loughborough!?
Bucketing down
Obviously, there was another game going on in Bassetlaw this afternoon, but I'm getting old and once I was warm and dry I didn't want to venture too far from home. I honestly thought that somebody must've been taking the proverbial when the score updates from Worksop Town v Retford United started coming through, but fair play to the Badgers, what an impressive result. And though I have a lot of friends (and one or two enemies) at the Tigers, I'm genuinely chuffed for all of my United supporting mates who have had far too many years of following them through thin and even thinner for several years, with next to sweet FA to cheer about.
The ever spritely Graham Taylor showing off
But today I was never planning to be at Sandy Lane anyway, but it was too late to set off for either AFC Mansfield v Stratford Town in the FA Cup... another great result for local football as it turned out, with the Bulls triumphing 2-1 against a team from two divisions higher. It's boom time for local football it would seem, as was illustrated when John Dempster's Stags youth team won 6-0 away from home this morning.... You what!? I've mentioned it already? I get like that when I'm genuinely enthused about an especially good performance and feeling euphoric as a consequence. Get in!!!
I suppose that this afternoon's game could be classed as part three of a CMFL triology I have been watching throughout the week, whereby I've seen Retford FC 1 v Harworth Colliery 2 on Monday, Harworth Colliery 1 v Appleby Frodingham 2 last night and finally today's visit of league leaders FC Bolsover to Cannon Park, via a lunchtime fixture at Welbeck M.O.D. College near 
You forgot your games kit?
No worries, I'm sure that there will be a few bits
& pieces that are your size in the dressing up box.
Today was 'newly' formed FC Bolsover's firest ever visit to 'recently' formed Retford FC.
The Derbyshire based club are currently playing their home games on the 3G pitch at Shirebrook Academy. with the ultimate aim of moving into Bolsover Sports & Social Club, once it has the nessercary facilities to comply to Step 7 ground grading rules, which if what I've seen elsewhere is anything to go by, won't require a lot of effort and work to complete.
Further down the line, the club also has ambitions to compete at a higher level, in the NCEL, just like the other CMFL clubs I've watched this week.
Will, Woody and Swanny, Retford's management team getting wet
When Glapwell FC sadly folded at the end of last season, 'Boza' benefited from an influx of their former players and have made a few decent signings on top of that, as well as cornering the market in goal scorers called Josh.
I have been keen to check out the new kids on the CMFL block for a while, having heard good things about them... and the final score today speaks for itself really.
Retford have got some really good players signed on, but their visitors have several who on their books who are a cut above what you would expect to see at this level.
And even with the experienced two pronged attack force of Jason Bradley and my favourite ever Retford United/Retford player Will Tomlinson, the home side struggled penetrate Bolsover's rearguard. 
Bradley was actually tripped inside the visitors penalty area in the opening changes, but the officials must've been making allowances for the soaking wet pitch and let it go. To be honest, I doubt if an early goal for the home side would've made a great deal of difference to the final outcome.
Ollie Chappel also had a chance near the start of the game, but Ryan Hopkins, a former Mansfield Town youth keeper who briefly had a spell with the first team, showed that he is still a class at when he got down well to his left to pull off a save. By way of a massive coincidence I actually saw the current Stags youth team play earlier today y'know!? ;-)
But in spite of a spirited opening from the home side on what was sure to be a difficult game for them, it was no real surprise when the visitors took the lead on eight minutes, from which was their sixth assault on Retford's goal, when Parfitt finished from close range after Danny Russell's shot had cannoned back to him off the post, following a neat exchange of passes between Josh Scully and Josh Thomas.
Jason Swannack was trying to get Retford going down the left flank, along with Aaron Hutchinson playing up ahead of  him, but Bolsover were proving to be a tough nut to crack.
Joe Knowles went route one to combat the visitors flooding the midfield with players and though the ball narrowly evaded Bradley, Tomlinson chased it down on got his shot on target that Hopkins did well to save.
Bradley got on the end of a free kick from Swannack, but Josh Aitken (a Josh who didn't score today) took the ball away from him and cleared.
For purposes of not going over my 50,001 word limit for this report, I have omitted to recite the details of eight more Bolsover attacks that I have scribbled down in my notebook before they scored again in the 34th minute when Thomas broke free on the edge of the home side's area and spanked the ball past Jamie Houseley.
Thomas crossed to Parfitt and Retford had a let off when he shot over with the goal at his mercy and within a minute Scully rattled the home side's cross bar from the edge of the area.
Swannack intercepted as Parfitt squared up toshoot but Thomas latched onto the loose ball and Housley did well to tiphis shot from ten yards over the bar.
Scully crrossed from the right wing and Parfitt diverted the ball past Housley from close range, but the assistant's flag was raised and the goal didn't count.
Shortly before half time, Swannack went for a fifty fifty challenge near the touchline and careered off the pitch and under the fence surrounding the pitch where his right knee crashed into the concrete path that runs around the perimeter of the ground.
Ever the battler, Swannack persevered and played through the pain barrier... for the time being at least
HT: Retford FC 0 v FC Bolsover 2
The second half reads like a catalogue of FC Bolsover goals, look away now if you're squeamish, it's not for the faint hearted, especially if you happen to have the best interests of Retford FC at heart.
Just four minutes after the restart, Parfitt played the ball through to Scully and he crashed the ball past Housley off of the inside of the left hand post to make it 0-3.
Retford could count themselves to e lucky to still have eleven men on the pitch when Gareth Campion took Parfitt out with a reckless challenge. But referee Graham Taylor is from the old school, who understands that competitive non league footballers occasionally suffer from a dose of the red mists and he brandished a yellow card for the thundering challenge.
Swannack picked out Bradley with a left wing corner, but he nudged the ball over from a free header and within a minute Retford's slim chances of a comeback were all but over, when Russell played a measured pass to Joe Ballinger, who whipped a cross in from the right wing, to Thomas at the back stick, who had the easiest of chances to make it 0-4 as he prodded the ball over the line.
The wheels were coming off for Retford now and the second half had become something of a damgae limitation exercise for them now.
Knowles wrestled for possession with Danny Russell as the two of them went neck and neck and shouler to shoulder towards the bi-line to the left of Housley's goal, but just as it looked as though the home side's defender had done enough to force Russell wide, he scored with an audacious lob, from the narrowest of angles imaginable. It was a improvised and off the cuff, yet quality strike.
Centre half Knowles performance was one of Retford's saving graces after the interval and in spite of the five goal deficit he was still trying to make things happen and he picked out Tomlinson with a long range free kick who forced a save out of Hopkins.
It was six nil to the visitors (for the second time today, ahem!), when Scully released Adam Norris in the home side's area who drew Housley off his line before playing the ball sideways to Ballinger, who whipped the ball into the back of the net on the turn.
The visitors were toying with their hosts and show boating now, as Harworth's assistant manager Mark Latham (and his dad Paul) watched on, devising a strategy to overcome FC Bolsover when they play them.
Inside the final five minutes, Adam Barrett set up Thomas with the opportunity to clinch his hat trick, which he claimed with a collected and calm finish, before leaving the field to a standing ovation.
Norris and Ballinger almost combined for an eighth Bolsover goal, but knowles intervened and cleared up the pitch towards Sam Clarke and he sprinted down the left flank before crossing to Bradley who played the to Tomlinson, but Hopkins saved his close range effort.
FT: Retford FC 0 v FC Bolsover 7
In my humble opinion, Retford hadn't actually played anywhere near as badly as the final score suggests. In fact they had a couple of stand out players of their own today; not least Joe Knowles who will obviously be playing at a higher level than the CMFL in years to come. The home side are evidently missing the presence of Luke Tong, who links up so well between the midfield and front line and for Retford's (and Luke's) sake I hope that he makes a full recovery from injury soon
But FC Bolsover are a different class and they were relentless in their quest for goals, goals and more goals.... and the spine of quality that runs right through their team suggests that they are going to take some stopping this season.