Worksop Van Hire North Midland U19 League (North)
at the Jones & Co. Stadium, Cannon Park
Retford United (0) 0
Sheffield United (4) 12
Retford United FC U19 Forthcoming Fixtures CLICK HERE
If any of you Retfordians missed this because you didn't know that the Badgers have revived their under 19 side again this season, or you simply hadn't seen the fixtures, then the click on link above will provide you with all of the answers that you could possibly need.
Norbridge Academy had a coachload of youngsters at the game tonight, so Cannon Park was noisier than usual, as the youngsters cheered on the Badgers and sang songs in support of the home side from start to finish... and didn't let a mere twelve goals dampen their enthusiasm.
Obviously, this was always going to be a big ask for Lee Hurst and Phil Hall's team, in their new team's first ever league fixture against such a strong United side, who even had management staff of the calibre of Del Geary on their bench... and tonight proved to be a very steep learning curve for the Badgers both on and off the pitch.
In terms of results, it was obviously a bad loss for the home side, but as part of a learning and development process, as long as the Retford players have learned (albeit in a fairly harsh manner) that the slightest mistakes and momentary hesitation will get published against quality opponents, then a good going over could ironically be more beneficial to youngsters who want to improve (and surely that is what this division is all about), than being involved in a team who stroll out onto the pitch as dead certs every week.
I could write a blow by blow account of how the game panned out and name check players who misplaced passes that led to individual goals, but that serves no purpose whatsoever... this is the highest level of football that some of the home side have ever played at and opening their campaign against a side who are surely favourites for the title, was a bit of a baptism of fire.
But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and the Badgers coaches and their team, will know now exactly what to expect and will be better prepared next time out, when Chesterfield roll into town on Wednesday October 5th (7.45pm). That game will be a good barometer of Retford's mindset and mettle... they've got to put this one behind them, take on board what went wrong and make sure that some of the errors that contributed to their downfall aren't repeated.
There is obviously a lot of work to be done during the next fortnight until the Badgers next game, but the experience the home side will have got tonight, will prove invaluable in the long run and if they strive to improve just a fraction game by game both individually and collectively, as the players become more familiar with each other, then nearly all of the pieces are in place following this very public test, that possibly provided more questions and answers both on the pitch and behind the scenes, but the galvanizing effect and camaraderie as everyone involved with the team mucked in bodes well.
Sheffield United were a bit special and scored at wearingly frequent intervals between the 15th and 80th minute, before Retford's Zach Casburn cracked a shot against the upright in the very last minute.
FT: Retford United U19 0 v Sheffield United 12
Well played Blades, that performance will have been a real eye opener for some of the home side's debutants as regards the quality of teams in this league.
And the match officials, namely: Ian Dudley, Ian Shepherd and Charles Creswell Hibbert warrant some praise to for the way they handled the game too.
And, of course, Norbridge Academy deserve a special mention for bringing the noise!