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Match Report  |  Gresley Rovers vs Retford United

Note that this page is from our Gresley Rovers archive.
It may not be related to the new club Gresley FC.
Gresley Rovers  0
Retford United  4
Edwards og 21  |  Rolph og 56  |  Harvey 69  |  Godber 70

UniBond League Division One South

The Moat Ground, Church Gresley

Saturday, 28th February 2009, 3.00pm

Badgers on their way to the title?

Gresley Rovers' manager Gary Norton included four new signings for the game against league leaders and last season's champions Retford United.

Knowing this game was going to be one of the most difficult of the season Norton tried to bolster his front line as goals had become a rarity since the break-up of the side in November.

In came strikers Chris Knight and Ryan Spittle with utility player James Davies filling the right back slot. Former Rovers midfielder return to the Moat Ground on loan from Atherstone Town.

Rovers' task was made even more difficult by gifting United two own goals and by being reduced to ten men after just 30 minutes.

The visitors had the first chance when a cross from Neil Harvey was met by Stephen Owens whose header clipped the post.

Looking more effective upfront Rovers had their first half chance when Knight flicked on a pass to Spittle but the final shot flew wide.

On 21 minutes Retford took the lead in somewhat fortunate conditions. A pass from Mick Godber saw Harvey race forward but just as Rovers' defender Justis Hayden looked to have beaten the striker to the ball he slipped allowing Harvey a free run in on goal.

The shot flew across the front of Simon Baldwin's goal and clattered the inside of the far post and bounced out to the unfortunate Paul Edwards, racing back to cover, who could do nothing to prevent the ball hitting him and ending up in the net.

The visitors almost doubled their tally when Godber lashed a vicious volley against the post with Baldwin well beaten.

Arguably, the turning point of the game came on 30 minutes. Woodall was trying to retrieve the situation after losing the ball in midfield. His tackle on Danny White was adjudged by referee Mr Barrow to have warranted a straight red card and Rovers then had a huge mountain to climb.

With Rovers clearly unsettled by the sending off the impressive Stephen Owens on the left wing had two very good chances to have added to the home side's misery but on both occasions disappointingly fired wide of the far post.

Within 9 minutes of the start of the second half Retford doubled their advantage with yet another own goal.

This time it was the unfortunate young defender Nathan Rolph who appeared on the scoresheet for the opposition.

A cross from Owen was met by Harvey just inside the box but his weak header was helped on its way by Rolph heading past the helpless Baldwin.

Three minutes later Harvey was guilty of a glaring miss when he somehow managed to put his header from Owens's cross over the bar when it would have been easier to score.

Retford were clearly on top but Baldwin did well to deny Harvey pushing a low goal bound shot wide of the upright.

Baldwin came to the rescue again two minutes later when again he made a good save this time preventing Owens from adding to his sides lead with a fine block.

The goal that looked almost certain to arrive did so on 69 minutes. Godber did well to shield the ball from his marker before laying on a pass that Harvey could not miss tapping in from close range.

Rovers looked dead on their feet and further goals from the visitors looked an odds on bet and a minute later they scored an almost carbon copy goal. This time it was Harvey who provided Godber with the simple tap in.

The worrying thing now was just how many were Retford going to score as with nearly every attack they looked as though they would find the net.

On 72 minutes Godber went close but fired wide from the 'D' and then Harvey, in an offside position, raced through but disappointingly could only find the side netting.

Baldwin again came to his side's rescue when Godber was allowed to turn in front of the keeper but Baldwin kept his nerve and made a good block.

The Rovers' custodian was called on again minutes later when a shot from Owens took a deflection off Hayden but Baldwin reacted quickly pushing the ball away at the near post for a corner.

Retford were running riot in the Rovers' defence and but for some woeful finishing could have easily hit six or seven goals.

First Owens fired high over the bar when well placed and then Godber collecting an awfully short back header from Hayden could only put a very poor effort wide and then Chris Bettney firing a shot so high from close range that the oval ball game would have been proud of.

Manager's View

"I was really pleased with the way we started the game. I just threw all of the new signings in today as I'd got nothing to lose. All of them contributed in particular Brian Woodall who had a really good opening twenty minutes very positive from an attacking sense.

"We looked as though we were getting into the game nicely without creating too many chances. The front two particularly Chris Knight impressed.

"Unfortunately the turning point that killed the game from our prospective was the sending off. Obviously we were one down at the time. We could have done a little bit better in a couple of aspects for the goal. It's gone in back off the post and off Eddie (Paul Edwards) for an own goal. We could have done better maybe in the build up to it, to defend it better.

"We acquitted ourselves well after that to get to halftime at one-nil but it was always going to be a big ask of us with eleven men on the pitch against the league leaders and champions particularly in the last twenty minutes which was my concern with eleven men.

"There were several players who hit brick walls after about seventy minutes from a fitness point of view not just those who cannot get to training.

"Justis (Hayden) for example is at training every week and he hit a brick wall, bless him, after seventy minutes. James Davies has been playing a lot of reserve team football. Good player, step up into first team football now and he was feeling it.

"Paul (Edwards) picked up an ankle injury in the second half and there were a few of the lads dead on their feet and it's really hard to pull them to bits and too be honest it could have been one or two more and perhaps should have been. Pleasingly from our point of view it wasn't.

"I'm fifty-fifty over the sending off. I can't argue too much. Obviously Brian (Woodall) had a poor touch and he's gone after it. I personally feel it was a little hash and one or two their players agree. The ref has had to make a decision and if he'd have given a yellow one or two on their bench may have said it was an easy punishment. When he was given a red there were not many of us complaining.

"You've got to know the characters involved. Brian is not that sort of player. Obviously he's gone after the ball, he's led with one foot of the ground and he has gone over the ball and caught the lad as he's followed through. We hope it's not too serious and he'll be back playing. It was just one of those things and I suppose the referee from his perspective - spoke to me at half time - he's given it has he's seen it. It's not the luck we need at the moment but we keep getting on with it.

"If we'd have kept eleven men and kept it at one-nil we may have gone on and nicked one. There were plenty of positives to come out of that first twenty five minutes or so before the sending off. I thought we played some good stuff, we were positive and people like Lee Feel who's been struggling from a confidence point of view recently was getting into the game. You had Brian on the other side, Carl Slater and Callum (Keenan) in the middle of the park who looked comfortable. Justis (Hayden) at the back marking Harvey and Godber very well along with Edwards.

"The front two Ryan Spittle and Chris Knight worked very hard and there were lots of positives out there. It's frustrating that perhaps we didn't start as well in the game last week in the game against Goole in games where we realistically we expect to get something out of.

"Today was one that you never know. Catch Retford on an off day and us have an exceptional performance we might have got something.

"I've just said to the lads in the dressing room that we have to make sure that against sides in and around mid table that we start off as well as we did today and try and capitalise on that.

"We injected some new young lads in, fit lads as well, and we very much wanted to make sure that we didn't give Retford the time and space to play and move the ball as they showed in the last twenty minutes or they'll murder you.

"We wanted to try and frustrate them like with a similar game plan as to when we went up to their place and won earlier in the season to make sure they didn't have time and space and force them to go long and let them play a little more predictable from our point of view and then it's down to individual battles and can we pick the second balls up.

"For a period of that first half it was working. We were in their faces and we were working hard but it's hard to keep that tempo up for ninety minutes with eleven men on the pitch let alone ten.

"There were several lads out there who were dead on their feet and were please when the final whistle went.

"I thought Simon Baldwin was exceptional today. His kicking was back to level we expect both off the deck and out of his hands. He made a couple of good saves as well, he's talked, he was organised and he was at the standard we want Simon to be at more often than not.

"That was a pleasing factor as well and if it wasn't for Simon it could well have been two or three more.

"The goal difference is important to us in the situation we are in because it's better than Brigg's at the moment. We played Belper recently and got on the end of a four and we've had a few goals shipped past us today and we've got some big games coming up against good sides who want to get into the play-offs.

"It was a difficult one today as is every game at the moment but we keep going onto the next week and hopefully we may have one or two new signings".

Match Stats
Shots on Target 1 7
Shots off Target 4 19
Corners 1 9
Fouls Conceded 10 7
Yellow Cards 1 0
Red Cards 1 0
Possession (%) 46 54
Streaming Interview
Gresley Rovers
1 Simon Baldwin
2 James Davies
3 Nathan Rolph
4 Paul Edwards
5 Justis Hayden
6 Carl Slater (c) Yellow Card
7 Brian Woodall Red Card
8 Callum Keenan
9 Ryan Spittle
10 Chris Knight
11 Lee Fell
12 Carl Timms
for 9 - 51 mins
14 Mick Lonergan
not used
15 Liam Hebberd
for 11 - 73 mins
16 Harley Hollinshead
not used
17 Matt Weightman
for 10 - 64 mins
Retford United
1 Ross Turner
2 Adam Oldham
3 Daniel White
4 Ryan Ford
5 Benjamin Chambers
6 Michael Simpkins (c)
7 Chris Bettney
8 Matthew Fisher
9 Michael Godber
10 Neil Harvey
11 Stephen Owens
12 Paul Grimes
for 10 - 79 mins
14 Thomas Cowan
for 3 - 34 mins
15 Ashley Longstaff
not used
16 Oliver Chappell
for 8 - 45 mins
17 Christopher Kingston
not used
Other Match Info

Referee: Mr S Barrow (Wilnecote)

Attendance: 264

Star Player
Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards

Solid in defence - another good display