Saturday, 14 January 2017

Retford 3 v Newark Town 3 - CMFL North

Bright and breezy.
Saturday 14th January 2017
Central Midland League (North)
at Cannon Park, Leverton Road, Retford
Retford FC (2) 3
Jason Swannack 24
Will Tomlinson 45+
Arron Blakey 78
Newark Town (1) 3
Chris Dobbie 39
Tyler Martin 67
George Pearce 85
Admission £3. Programme £1. Attendance 50
Truth be told, this was the first time that I'd left my sickbed since Wednesday tea time (missing scheduled games on three consecutive nights as a consequence), as I have spent the arse end of this week lamenting not making my annual appointment to get my flu jab.
So it's my own fault... and I don't expect any sympathy from you lot, but funk me! It was a rough and disheveled approximation of yours truly, who just about managed to drag myself up t'road to watch this Central Midlands League encounter today, hoping that an hour and a half of fresh air and sunshine, would somehow have some sort of restorative powers.
As of yet, I can't say that course of action was even a minor success.
It was a game that was probably more pleasing as a spectacle for the crowd who had descended on a bright and breezy Cannon Park this afternoon, than it would've been for either management team, given the manner in which several wholly avoidable goals were conceded.
But a draw was just about the right result all told, even if Retford did create slightly more chances over the course of the ninety plus minutes.
The top two sides in the division won quite emphatically today, with FC Bolsover coming back from being behind (twice) against fourth placed Harworth Colliery, to finish up 7-2 winners at Shirebrook, while an improving Welbeck Lions side, who now have a tie up with Worksop Town's development side, were trounced 8-0 at their Meden Vale ground, by Clay Cross Town.
AFC Bentley are up to third courtesy of their 3-1 win over Dinnington Town, while Retford and Newark Town finished the afternoon in fifth and sixth place respectively, after sharing the points and a few thrills and spills, in this lively encounter.
Retford FC, a team with no nickname, played in their all navy blue kit, while Newark Town, who like to be called 'the Blues' played in their change strip of yellow and green, so apologies if that causes any confusion later in the day.
I did hear Retford being referred to as the 'fake Badgers' and 'United reserves' by somebody from Newark, but both of those handles are way off the mark. This club is  a completely separate entity who happen to ground share with Retford United... and by the same flawed and uninformed logic used to make these assumptions, it could be (incorrectly) suggested that Newark themselves who might be accused of being 'Collingham reserves', in light of their own ground share; but let's stick to facts and dismiss such silliness. rubbish and far fetched conjecture out of hand, be it tongue in cheek banter, or otherwise.
It was the Badgers reserves, whoops! Look what you nearly made me do there you pesky idle gossips; I meant to say it was Retford FC, an independent a free standing football club, who representing grass roots football within the community of East Retford, who went on the attack from the off, with Will Tomlinson moving in stealth like to avoid the attentions of his marker, before striking the ball sweetly on the turn, just the wrong side of the left hand upright.
With five minutes on the clock, Dom Swingler went close at the other end after Damian Llloyd had nudged the ball forward into his path.
The Blues (of Retford) squeezed the visitors defence again and Tomlinson forced the Yellows (of Newark via Collingham) into conceding a corner, which Gareth Davies dropped tantalisingly into the six yard box and while the visitors defence did a passable impression of the (original and best) cast of Dad's Army, playing pass the parcel with a ticking time bomb, Tomlinson and Jerome Gordon both had shots blocked, before Stuart Rose eventually hooked the ball away off the goal line.
Tomlinson threatened once more, when he took a pass from Paul Middleton, turned 180 degrees on the spot to wrong foot Rose and stroked a crisply struck shot past Nathan Burrows but just a fag papers width past the left hand post. The Blues (from Newark) goal was leading something of a charmed life during the opening exchanges.
Almost as if a portal in time was running on repeat, Newark countered following Tomlinson's near miss and Swingler nudged the ball just wide at the other end, again.
Middleton won the ball in the middle of the park and sprayed a pass forward to Tomlinson, who freed Gordon with the time and space to shoot with a deft first touch, but Andy Smith was on hand, to block the powerhouse frontman's angled shot.
Gordon broke forward again through the left channel, with Retford's box to box left sided full back following him in hot pursuit, gambling on a loose ball and/or making himself available for a lay off in the event that the striker needed an extra option. 
In the event Burrows and Rose both arrived at the same time to block Grdon's run and their combined efforts saw the ball break to Swannack, who dragged it away from the situation with his first touch and knocked it calmly into the goal with his second, meaning that the Retford number three hadscored to mark the occasion of his 50th appearance for the club.
Congratulations Swanny!
Ironically, as football and numbers so often intertwine symbolically, this afternoon's attendance was a nice round fifty too.
Aaron Hutchinson almost doubled the home side's lead moments later as he cut in on the right along the dead ball line, combining well with Middleton. 
And Middleton was involved again, as he almost benefitted from the space that Tomlinson had created by taking three Newark players out of the equation as they followed him while he 'dinked' the ball inside, but Sam Wilford had remained vigilant and moved across to make the block.
Six minutes before the break, Newark pulled level, when Chris Dobbie spanked the ball under the dive of Chris Holmes in the Retford goal, from Tyler Martin's pass across the edge of the goal area.
The home side almost responded immediately, but Burrows saved well from Tomlinson's volley from Davies' forty yard knock over the top of the Newark defence.t.
Deep into first half stoppage time, Jack Johnson threaded a pass through to Tomlinson inside Newark's area, who powered forward and forced the ball over the line, in spite of the close attentions of (and a possible wrestling move by) Burrows, to give Retford a half time lead.
HT: Retford 2 V Newark Town 1
Having come to Newark's rescue a couple of times in the first half, Wilford almost made a catastrophic start to the second, when the 'heavy going' under foot conditions caught him out and he miscued a routine clearance into the path of Tomlinson and would have been  relieved to see Burrows sprint from his line and  reach the ball first.
Tyler Martin then went close twice for the visitors, when he chipped the ball wide from Swingler's pass and then saw Holmes pick out his wind assisted left wing cross from the under the bar, while Carl la Rocca did well to keep Swingler at bay as the visitors  built up a  head of steam.
Meanwhile, Swannacck countered quickly from the left and Burrows had to go down  at his feet to deny him another goal on his 50th anniversary.
On sixty seven minutes, Newark were on level terms again, when Jammy Lloyd put a right wing free kick into the mix that Rose headed back across the face of goal, forcing Holmes to claw the ball away from under his  bar, right into the path of Martin who netted from close range.
Arron Martin, a second half substitute for the visitors was making a nuisance of himself, offering more width and pace to Town's attack to good attack and he hadn't been on the pitch very long before Gareth Campion was being called on to clear things up at the back for the hosts, with Kieran Wall close by ready to make his mark.
Davies tried forcing the issue for Chris Woodhead's side after muscling his way through on goal from out on the right, but Burrows saved to preserve parity between the two sides.
George Pearce almost put (A) Martin through with a free kick down the left flank, but Middleton had tracked the ball and moved across to make an interception.
It's always a pleasure to see Arron Blakey in action, especially in full cry with the opposition's goal in front of him, but he has been blighted with bad luck as regards injuries that has curtailed the career of a player who otherwise had enough ability to play at a higher level.
Blakey entered the fray half way through the second half and announced his arrival in fine style in the seventy eighth minute, when having seen his initial shot blocked by Burrows after Tomlinson had picked out his run with a dipping pass over the Newark back line, he smashed the ball with such ferocity from the rebound, that Burrows can probably consider himself to be very lucky that he didn't actually get in the way of it, as it zipped into the back of the net, to put Retford ahead for a third time.
You've got to admire the way that Blakey still has the confidence and self belief to apply himself fully to such situations after the series of set backs that have befallen him over the years.
Blakey's strike, was one worthy of winning any game, but Newark weren't having any of that and they were soon back in the hunt for a third equaliser and Rose looked to have found the roof of the Retford net, until Holmes twisted and contorted his frame to reach the ball and tip it over.
Instead of holding an internal finger pointing shouting match about 'who the **** was picking him up?' and blaming each other for switching off with the three points in sight, Retford would've done better to put their squabbling on the back burner until after the game and focus on putting a foot through the ball and getting it away from the danger zone, as (A) Martin's flag kick bounced around inside the goalmouth and a scramble to get something on it ensued... George Pearce stood back a few yards from the goal and was in just the right place at right time as the ball rolled towards him from the melee and he crashed a first time shot through a crowd of legs to claim the draw for Newark,
(T) Martin almost snatched a fourth for Collingham based side playing in yellow and green but calling themselves the Blues, deep into stoppage time, but he couldn't keeping his shot on target, Though that might have constituted as rubbing things in just that little bit too much.
FT: Retford 3 v Newark Town 3
So did an afternoon of sunshine, fresh air and mental stimulation, help to fend off my ailments?
Did it bloody hell as like!
Where's that bloody Lemsip max strength and my duvet!?
See you all on the other side, it may be a while.