Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Retford FC 4 v Harworth Colliery 2 - CMFL Floodlit Cup QF

Wednesday 22nd February 2017
Central Midlands League Floodlit Cup Quarter Final
at Cannon Park, Leverton Road, Retford
Retford FC (1) 4
Luke Tong 37, 72, Paul Middleton 52, Jason Bradley 86
Harworth Colliery (1) 2
Gary Mundy 31, Lewis Francis 80
Admission £3. Programme £1. Attendance 90
Brenda and Paul. Harworth Colliery stalwarts
Having been postponed twice already, due to the recent inclement weather, tonight's 'Bassetlaw Derby' finally got underway at the third time of asking.
When the two sides last met at Cannon Park, back in August, Harworth won 2-1, but tonight it was payback time for their neighbours, as Retford took the spoils from an entertaining game and progressed to the semi final.
Will Tomlinson and Arron Blakey were both unavailable for the home side tonight, though they had both turned out to support their teammates, it was good to them out together, they make a smashing couple.
Tom Walker, Harworth's resident battering ram, is currently serving a suspension for speaking out of turn during a recent game... Walker gobbing off!? I was flabbergasted to hear of such a thing.
Both teams were clearly raring to go from the off, as the game ebbed and flowed, one way and then the other, but it was the Colliery who struck first when Gary Mundy crashed a shot from just inside the Retford area past Jamie Houseley in the 31st minute.
Mundy had been making himself busy from the off and impressed me a lot tonight.
The Colliery also appeared to have Johnny Bownes in their ranks tonight, but it couldn't have been him. Surely he wouldn't be seen dead with a 1980's style roll neck sweater under his shirt.
But the home side were on level terms, when Luke Tong played to the whistle (i.e. there wasn't one) and  chased a down a through ball, took it in his stride and powered forward before planting the ball past Matty Leese as he advanced from his line.
If Tong wasn't offside when the ball was played, then he could probably give Usain Bolt a run for his money, but let's give the lad the benefit of the doubt because he's been injured and out of action for ages, so he deserves a bit of luck for a change.
Tom Cooke was looking strong at right back for the visitors as Retford looked to unlock Harworth down the left flank, while Paul Middleton stood out for the Cannon Park outfit and was obviously relishing having the chance to link up with Tong again... it wasn't a surprise to see him among the goals tonight.
Gareth Campion brings an aura of calm and a lot of organisation, to the home side's defence and though he left the field with 19 minutes still left to go. he had already made a significant contribution towards the final result. Jason Swannack, as always, could be seen weighing in at the back for Retford one minute and then tearing up and down the left flank and tracking back the next.
Greg Archer will always be a class act in the middle of the park and gives Harworth so many options, it is like having an extra player at times; it is one of the greatest mysteries in local football, why he isn't still playing at a higher level, he obviously must enjoy being a part of the Bircotes based club.
An evenly matched first half finished all square, but seven minutes after the break, amidst a goalmouth scramble, Middleton got a decisive touch on the ball and nudge it past Leese to put Retford in front.
Tong almost added to Harworth's woes, but having lobbed the ball over Leese from the edge of the area, he saw it drop narrowly wide of the left hand post.
Houseley pulled off a quality save at full stretch to tip Josh Paskell's fifteen yard shot over the bar.
And the visitors were unlucky to see (the legendary) Greg Fox's header clear the bar as well, after Josh Davies had picked him out from a right wing corner.
The Colliery pushed forward again from Lewis Francis' knock down the left flank, but Oli Bilham cleared up at the back for the hosts from Shawn Mundy's knock into the goalmouth.
Having found his range when he went close earlier in the game, Tong made no mistake from the edge of the area, when he lobbed Leese again and the ball dipped into the top left hand corner.
Central Midland's  League clubs beware. Luke Tong is back on the scene and just as effective as he was before his prolonged lay off.
Joe Knowles tackled (S) Mundy on the edge of the area and when the loose ball fell to Paskell he blazed his shot into the car park.
Cooke made an uncharacteristic error, when he knocked an intended back pass past his own keeper, that went out over the dead ball line with Tong chasing it and the referee awarded a corn... err, a goal kick! Oh well, if players can make mistakes, so can match officials.
Harworth swamped Houseley's goal area in a bid to force their way back into this compelling game and when Aaron Hutchinson hooked the ball away out of the box, Francis latched onto to it and pulled a goal back with a sublime dipping shot. 80 minutes gone... game on!?
Inside the closing five minutes, Retford introduced Jason Bradley from the bench and he scored with his first touch, diverting Hutchinson's well delivered cross.
(G) Mundy, (S) Mundy and Davies all went close for the visitors as they piled forward and made a concerted but vainglorious push to salvage the game and force extra time, but a combination of Houseley and Lee Gallagher kept them at bay.
And in the last minute of stoppage time, Middleton put the ball onto the roof of the stand behind Leese's goal after Paskell had knocked a sideways pass into his path.
FT: Retford 4 v Harworth Colliery 2
A great advert for the CMFL all told. Both teams are at home on Saturday, in league games. Harworth entertain Dronfield Town Reserves at Scrooby Road and Welbeck Lions