On Saturday the Badgers faced Crowle Colts, a team that had picked up form since the New Year winning the majority of their games and climbing up the table to seventh. United also in very good form, coming into the game 10 games unbeaten. The Badgers fans travelled to Windsor Park for the first time and in numbers. They hoped to see their team extend the unbeaten streak to 11 and secure a crucial three points on the road.
Once again the wind was strong and was out to affect the game, but both teams started well despite the conditions. The Badgers passed the ball well and had the majority of possession in the first half, but Crowle still looked a threat on the attack. Muhamet Gashi started for the first time this season and was out to impress and he certainly did in the first half linking up well with Casburn and Walters and showing his flare against the Crowle players wishing to tackle him. West started at Centre Back a position he has played before and does well in, even though he is a proven striker. Meaning Conway and Casburn started up top. Swales replaced the unavailable Lawrence at Right Back.
Retford’s first chance came on the 7th minute when Gashi started the attack down the left, got the ball into the feet of Casburn who dummied it for Conway who was now through on goal. Conway struck the ball just inside the box, the ball went just over the bar. On the 12th minute Dean was granted another chance after Kane shot from the edge and the keeper pushed it out to his feet, for him to poke it in. However this time he was denied by the lineman who ruled it offside. Conway finally got his goal on the 14th minute when Casburn put in a beautifully executed cross that stayed at a perfect height for Dean to direct it into the right side of the net. It wasn’t just Gashi having fun on the left side, Daughtrey enjoyed a lot of possession on the right side and he created chances which the Badgers were unable to convert. On the 32nd minute Badgers keeper, Tom Crosby had to be replaced by Kieran Conway just as a precaution. Kieran made good saves and distributed well throughout the game.
The second goal came just before half time when the Badgers were putting a lot of pressure on Crowle in the hopes of a second goal and it came through who else, but Dean Conway. The ball bounced around the edge of the box for Conway to hit it first time, he hit it so sweetly that even the wind could not affect it. It flew once again into the right side and I’m surprised that it didn’t go through the net.
Even though the Crowle keeper had conceded two, he had also made some very good saves. Especially when Kane hit an almost perfect free kick at the beginning of the first half. The ball looped over the wall and dipped straight after, forcing the keeper to get low to make the save. The game after this got a bit feisty with both sides fouling each other. On the 58th minute Danny Swales was shown red when he mistimed a tackle in the centre of the park, seemed a bit harsh but maybe it was the referee’s attempt to calm the play down. Danny Abdulla dropped into full back and Casburn was replaced by Nix to reinforce the midfield. On the 70th minute Mark West was also sent off for a foul and was given a second yellow. Retford were down to nine with twenty minutes left to play.
Despite the advantage that Crowle now had, the Badgers still managed to not let Crowle get anywhere near their goal. Brandon Kane was really looking for a goal after coming close all afternoon. Kane and Conway were the only two forward and were putting pressure on the Colts defence who were struggling to get it forward. Kane snatched the ball off the centre back and ran towards goal. The keeper came out to stop Kane who simply just put it round him. Three minutes after increasing the Badgers lead Kane was sent off after a late challenge, meaning Retford were down to eight for the last 15 minutes of play. Liam made his final change bringing off Gashi who had had a very good game for another defensive player, Jacob Dawson. Crowle hit the post just a few minutes from time but except from that they didn’t threaten the Badgers. The Badgers held onto a clean sheet and all three points despite the sending’s off. Man of the Match was awarded to Dean Conway for obvious reasons. Conway now has 13 goals in only 7 appearances for the Badgers, a very impressive start as a Badger, keep it up Dean. The Badgers next travel to Sherwood Colliery Reserves on Wednesday for the Buckingham Insurance quarter finals, Sherwood are top of southern division and have only lost once this season. Up the Badgers!