Thursday, December 17, 2009

Table-topping Badgers maul the Mancs

Source: This is Retford

Thursday, December 17, 2009, 07:00

Unibond League Premier Division leaders Retford United continued their impressive away form with a 4-2 victory over FC United of Manchester at Bury's Gigg Lane ground on Saturday.

Buoyed on by their very vocal travelling support, it took only three minutes for the Badgers to make the break. Darryl Thomas shrugged off the attentions of the FC United defence before slotting his shot past the advancing Sam Ashton to silence the home crowd packed behind the goal.

FC United looked for an immediate response, and it was the tricky winger Carlos Roca who was first to test Ross Turner, however the Retford keeper was alert to keep hold of the shot.

Roca was proving to be a thorn in the side of the Badgers in the early exchanges and he played in Joseph Yoffe whose strike at close range was saved by the legs of the diving Turner.

Retford then started to take the game by the scruff of the neck, as Neil Harvey worked hard to get past Simon Garner before laying off the ball into the path of Thomas, but his shot was blazed over the bar.

Paul Ellender almost found the run of Harvey, but Ashton raced to the edge of his area to hoof clear, then Harvey again found himself in a great position, but his shot was parried away for another Retford corner.

The pressure paid off in the 18th minute, Harvey winning a corner that was floated in by Chris Bettney.

Both Ellender and Michael Simpkins challenged for the header which dropped to the feet of Colin Marrison who made no mistake as he cooly slotted the ball past Ashton with the inside of his foot to extend Retford's lead.

Bettney attempted a 25-yard shot that dipped, forcing Ashton to tip over his bar for a corner.

The Retford fans were in delirium on 24 minutes, when the lead was increased to three goals, thanks to more hard work from Thomas.

Thomas made a strong run from the halfway line, shrugging off the challenge of Nick Swirad before firing his shot past Ashton at his near post.

Thomas then sent the ball across the face of goal, with Harvey just missing out as he stretched to try and make contact.

Marrison burst into the box under the challenge of two FC United players, and despite falling to the ground, the referee waved the penalty shout away which allowed the home side to clear.

FC United then had a rare effort, Jake Cottrell's shot going into the hands of Turner.

Thomas then found the run of Bettney on the right wing, but his cross was collected in the air by Ashton.

FC United then pulled a goal back on 40 minutes from a superb shot into the top corner from the edge of the box by Roca.

A mistake by Garner almost led to a Retford fourth, Thomas latching onto the loose ball before running into the box from the right, only to put his shot over the bar.

And Retford had another good chance to increase the lead before the break.

Marquin Smith picked up the ball in his own penalty area, before running through the middle of the pitch evading the FC United challenges and into the box. He fired the ball at goal, but Ashton was in place to block.

The final action of the first half saw Ellender set Harvey on a run into the box. Harvey chose to shoot, with Thomas in a better position to score, the ball going over the bar.

The second half started with Retford having a chance as Harvey once again found Thomas who looked to be through on goal, but Ashton again had to clear from outside his box.

FC United looked for something to get back into the game.

Roca again made a run on the left with Simpkins clearing for a corner. The ball in fell to the feet of substitute Rob Nugent but his shot was well wide of the target.

Lee Holmes was introduced to the action to replace Thomas and within a minute of his introduction, Retford were four up.

Holmes made his way towards goal, his shot rebounding off the legs of Ashton, then Marrison picked up the pieces to score his second of the game as he fired low past the keeper and into the back of the net.

The game then looked all but over with still half an hour to play.

But the deficit was reduced once more when Simon Carden headed home across Turner to give FC United a glimmer of hope.

But Retford continued to stand firm at the back, despite Garner almost finding target only for his header to be denied by the crossbar.

The game went into the final stages, and the home side thought they had set up a grandstand finish in the 89th minute when they netted from a corner, only for the referee to disallow the goal for a foul on Turner.

A small scuffle broke out between both sets of players, with Nugent and Turner both receiving a caution for their part in the fracas.

The match ended with the Retford fans delighted at the result that keeps them on top of the league as the Christmas schedule kicks in.