Retford continued their form from December into the New Year with a win over mid-table Thorne Colliery. Thorne had also hit some form in the late year with impressive wins over Renishaw and Sutton. Meaning the game was shaping up to be quite a battle, although it was the opposite.
The game started very flat, both sides giving the ball away quite a lot and just not really doing anything positive with their possession. After the first 10 minutes of play Retford used their high press to their advantage and pinned Thorne In their own half, forcing mistakes. This high press frustrated the Thorne players and especially their defence. Swales and Brook sat on the half way line, with Lawrence and Walters turning from full back to winger. Walters worked well with Mlynarski and vice versa with Lawrence and Daughtrey. The wide players played some great ball in to the box where the height of West or Conway could hope to convert the first goal, but the opener didn’t come from out wide.
Brandon Kane played a looping ball up into the air and over the defence. The Defence stopped, knowing West was offside, but Conway was there to collect the ball, dribble 5 or 6 yards and finesse it round the keeper. Retford was deservedly ahead after 13 minutes. After the goal the Badgers didn’t really push for a second and just controlled the play. This could have come back to bite them with Thorne creating chances at the end of the first half.
Retford started the second half the better side and once again used that high press. Walters once again being a threat on the left hand side, a nightmare for the Thorne defence at times. But once again Thorne were open in the middle, maybe because the centre backs had to push out wide to help the full backs deal with the quick and skilful Retford wingers. The ball over the top was put in front of Mark West who now had to beat the keeper to the ball. With the opposition keeper being slow off his line West got there first and seen as the keeper was in no man’s land he lobbed him. The ball dropped just before the line and trickled in.
After the second goal on the 53rd minute, Retford continued the pressure with Mlynarski hitting the post only a minute later. Thorne’s biggest chance of the game came on the 55th when they also hit the woodwork from a header. Liam made some changes which made matters worse for the already tired Thorne defence. Casburn came on for Conway and Gashi replaced Dawson after he went off injured. Gashi made some great runs on the left, a position he is not used to, with him normally playing centrally. And he nearly scored on the 85th with a great solo effort but the keeper made a strong save.
Retford’s third came from who else, Mark West with only a couple of minutes left to play. The goal was actually very similar to his first. Another lobbed goal from same position. The keeper can’t be blamed because the defence was nowhere to be seen. The whistle was blown for full time just moments later. Retford were now on the 5 game winning streak and with Newark beating Harworth, the Badgers moved up to third in the table. Man of the Match was awarded to Danny Swales for a solid performance at the back. We next face Long Eaton Community at Home in the Buckingham Insurance Challenge Cup on Wednesday and then Dronfield Town Reserves Away in the League on Saturday. Up the Badgers.