Friday was a key game for both sides, to get vital points and close the gap between them and the top two, Dinnington and Newark. Harworth sat comfortably in third while before Friday night’s game Retford sat in a disappointing fifth, so for the Badgers it was a must win game, do or die. Harworth started the stronger side and controlled the play. They broke into the Retford defence multiple times in the first 15 minutes making the Badgers commit fouls in their own half. The Referee awarded Badgers full back Jacob Dawson a yellow for a reckless challenge outside of the box, he did this in hopes of calming the game down, but the tension was so high for both teams, knowing how much this game meant. The deadlock was broken on the 24th minute when in-form striker Ainsley Finney darted through the middle of the Retford defence and with the ball still bouncing from the long ball he was able to lob Badgers keeper Tom Crosby who had come off of his line. Very good finish from the Harworth forward.
After this goal we saw a different Retford team and their desire to win had been revealed. Retford were now in control and pushed on up the field. Unfortunately had multiple shots saved by the Harworth Keeper. But the equaliser came when a corner was whipped in from the right side and hit to the back. Danny Abdulla headed it back across the face of goal where Mark West was at the other post to nod it in. 1-1 Game on. The Badgers momentum didn’t stop there, on the 40th minute Adam Daughtrey swung in what seemed like a cross but was only heading goal wards. The Ball went over the keeper and into the top left of the net. No one in the ground could believe it had gone in from such an angle. In a matter of minutes the Badgers were now ahead and took a one goal lead with them at half time.
United should have increased their lead by 2-3 goals at the beginning of the second half with Harworth starting the second half almost lifeless. Mark West had a phenomenal header saved by Matthew Bradwell who had had a great performance despite conceding two and a shot cleared off the line Daniel Murdock. Retford hit Harworth on the back foot for over 10 minutes but couldn’t increase their lead. This meant one thing, a Harworth equaliser. In the 58th minute Harworth were in the final third for only the first time in that half. Ainsley Finney received the ball on the edge of the box and controlled it well. With a wall of defenders he shot low and it slammed into the bottom left corner, nothing Crosby could do about it. Finney with another good finish. It was now and end to end game with both sides having chances. But Retford came the closest when Igor Mlynarski beat the Harworth right back by cutting inside, the defender knew he was going to cut inside because he had done it multiple times before and still had no chance of tackling him. With a little bit of space he shot and hit the post. So close to getting ahead.
Liam decided to bring new signing Dean Conway on for Zach Casburn. Conway offered something different for the Harworth defence. Instead of the pace and skill of Casburn. Conway brought strength and experience to the Retford front line and this change had Harworth worried. On the 68th minute Brandon Kane shot from long range and the Keeper could not keep a hold of it. The ball spilled out, yards away from the keepers on the ground. Conway pounced on the chance and smashed it into the back of the net. The Badgers were ahead again. Liam made another attacking change bringing on Alex Wonham for Mark West, which instantly paid off when Conway took it round the Colliery Keeper and squared it to Wonham who slotted the ball in the net to increase the Retford Lead. 4-2 and 12 minutes to go.
In the 89th minute Harworth scrambled in a third goal making the final score, Retford United 4 Harworth Colliery 3. What a game of football. Liam awarded winger Adam Daughtrey Man of the Match for a great performance and a great goal. Retford move up to 4th in the table and hope to carry on this winning streak. Up the Badgers.