Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Retford 0 v Hallam 3 - PSF

Wednesday 19th July 2017
at the BRSA 'Rail Ground', Retford
Pre SeasonFriendly
Retford FC (0) 0
Hallam FC (1) 3
MarkWest 14
Brad Morton 51
Mitchell Dunne 74
Admission £5. Attendance 51
For purposes of clarity, the goal times are fairly accurate, but the referee shaved a few minutes off of both halves to fit this 7.30pm kick off in before the light, on what was a gloomy evening weather wise caused any problems.
When the two seasoned Groundhoppers gave an affirmative answer to the lady at the burger vans question of: "Are you the Guinea Pigs for burgers gents?", I genuinely hope that they realised she didn't actually mean they were the first people to sample her wares, but that Cavia Porcellus is in fact considered to be a local delicacy in the people's republic of East Retford upon Idle and that she keeps a fresh supply of the furry rodents in a hutch behind the van (possibly).
Upon  arrival at the Babworth Road ground (that you gain entry to via West Carr Road and then under the rail bridge), the highly successful development football coach Dean Bamforth was warming the Hallam players up out on the pitch, while the strains of his favourite Bangles song belted out of his Ghetto Blaster.
The initial attendance was boosted by latecomers who had either gone to Cannon Park, where Retford FC used to play, or had been driving around town for half a hour trying to find where the secret entrance to the ground was.
Numerous local teams have used this facility as their home base for as long as I can remember, but 'the Rail' as they are now known, although they'll always be affectionately known as 'the Choughs' to me, have been working all hours to bring the facilities up to scratch and have made an impressive amount of progress to that end in a very short space of time.
The relocation this year and the adopting of the royal blue kit last season, in place of black and white stripes, must surely by now have put to bed the suggestion that this club are, or ever were, actually Retford United Reserves in disguise.
Hallam have assembled a decent looking side and will be up there among the promotion chasing pack in  the NCEL Division 1 this season, with all due respect to Retford, who are a very good CMFL North club, with Hallam fielding the likes of Mark West and Andrew Fox in attack, with Harry Bamforth providing them with a good supply of the ball via his 'David Batty' style midfield role, it stood to reason that 'the Countrymen' were probably going to run out as winners this evening.
Not that the home side didn't give them a run for their money at times.
Left back Jason Swannack certainly made his mark with a couple of trademark crunching tackles early on which made you wonder if anybody had told him that it was only a friendly, warm up fixture.
Weightwatchers corner is a popular feature at Retford FC
In the fourteenth minute, a Retford attack broke down and Hallam moved the ball quickly, on the deck, from end to end and Ward opened the scoring from close range.
The general consensus seemed to be that the floodgates had opened and a rout was on the cards, but Retford dug in and created a few chances of their own, while Joe Knowles made a timely challenge on Fox after Bamforth had played him in on goal, shortly before half time.
HT: Rail 0 v Countrymen 1
West made himself the space to increase the visitors lead, but skimmed the crossbar with his strike from the edge of the area, shortly before Jamie Housley got down to his right to turn West shot round the post.
Nathan Fenn and Sam Clarke were posing a threat to the visitors back line, with their constant running and willingness to take their opponents on, while Hallam introduced Mitch Dunne from the bench to do a similar job.
Brad Morton got forward to meet the ball from a right wing set piece and headed the visitors second goal and the game was finally beyond the reach of the hard working host side, when Mitch Dunne headed the ball back across the face of the Retford goal from another right wing cross and it nestled just inside the right hand post.
FT: Retford 0 v Hallam 3
A good workout for both teams all told.
I'll be watching Hallam again next Tuesday when Maltby Main travel to the oldest ground in the entire solar system and needless to say, I'm bound to roll up at Babworth Road regularly this season.