For the third time, this fixture finally went ahead. The weather conditions had caused the last two fixtures to be postponed. The Badgers were without three key players, West, Kane and Swales. Leaving Liam with the only option of promoting players from the Reserves. Bartholomew, Bond and Spooner were the three promoted to the senior side. Also Phil Roberts made his return, having not played since last season. Roberts started alongside Brook at the back. Second keeper, Kieran Conway started with Crosby unavailable. Leading the line was Zach Casburn and Dean Conway with Abdulla and Nix filling in behind. Both teams very much up for this game with a place in the semi-finals of the league cup awaiting the winner.
With Sherwood top of the Southern Division it certainly was going to be a tough test for the Badgers. The hosts kicked off and straight away was at the races, putting a lot of pressure on the Badgers defence and forcing an early corner. A player came short and played it to the front post where the unmarked striker hit it into the bottom left of the goal. Sherwood were ahead just inside the second minute after what seemed to be a routine set piece. Colliery extended their lead only 7 minutes later after Roberts misjudged the ball on the left hand side, leaving their number 9 through on goal. Conway rushed out of his net to close the attacker down, however the forward was able to curl the ball round him and into the back of the net. The bad start was made worse when the opposition centre forward darted through the middle and beat Walters who had had to come inside to stop the attack. This time curling it into the top left corner. 3 nil down in the first 11 minutes, the Badgers needed to wake up or it could been even more.
Things started to look brighter for United as Nix and Abdulla got things started in midfield. Nix especially with balls through to Conway and out wide to Daughtrey but they were quickly stopped by the impressive Sherwood defence. But it wasn’t just Colliery who were defending well, Retford were also with some great defending from Lawrence and Brook. They knew that they couldn’t concede again if they wanted to stay in the game. Conway coming close and Sherwood hitting the post drew the half to a close. A mountain to climb for the Badgers in the second half.
Retford started the second half like they did the first and Sherwood nearly capitalised on this with them hitting the post again. However Retford recovered and for the first time, they started putting pressure on the hosts. Dawson came on for Walters, Bartholomew for Roberts and Goodwin for Nix. Good to see Cory return to the pitch after a long time out. On the 70th minute Dawson supplied Mlynarski with the ball, he beat his man by putting it through his legs and sprinted down the left side. He played a low ball into the box where many where waiting. Daughtrey got the touch and smashed it into the net. Great work from Igor who had looked the most dangerous for the Badgers all game. Retford continued to press high in the attempt to get a second and hopefully a third, but they wasted chances and couldn’t get their shots off. Sherwood also defended extremely well and as a unit. The Badgers had been beaten for the first time since November and were out of the Buckingham Insurance Challenge Cup. Good luck to Sherwood in the semi-final of the competition. Up next for the Badgers is a return to Cannon Park to host Staveley Miners Welfare Reserves in the Quarter final of the Floodlit Cup on Wednesday 4th March. I know that we’ll come back stronger, up the Badgers!