RETFORD United were brought back down to earth, with a heavy defeat at Mickleover Sports on Saturday.
Badgers’ delight at their first home win of the season in the previous game turned to disappointment as they lost 4-1 to fellow strugglers.
United mounted an early attack as Michael Blythen and Steve Brammer connected on the right, But Liam Walshe managed to get a challenge in on Brammer, and despite it looking like the Retford player was the one fouled, the referee gave the free-kick the way of the home side.
A corner sent into the box by Mickleover found Karl Ashton at the far post, his header downwards could only bounce out for a goal kick.
For the second away game in succession, Retford lost one of their strikers to injury early in the game, this time it was Joe Boggild who had to leave the field to be replaced by Matt Booth after only 17 minutes of play.
Booth was straight into the action following his introduction, chasing Walshe who was having to hurriedly pass back to his keeper, Booth got an important touch as a clearance was attempted with Sam Foulds picking up and passing out to Brammer, but he couldn’t keep the ball in play.
Retford continued to pressure the Mickleover defence, more strong work by Booth again dispossessed the keeper for Foulds to unleash a shot that was tipped away for a corner by Damian Clarke.
The corner ball played in by Brammer to the far post finding the head of Matt Blake, but his header ran wide of the upright.
Mickleover had a great opportunity to take the lead, Alex Steadman getting into a good position, able to cross the ball in front of goal, but none of his team-mates were in a position to slot home.
Booth again made a strong run, shrugging off the challenge of the defender after good work by Foulds. The ball was played back to the young midfielder but he couldn’t control in front of goal as the ball ran under his foot and to Clarke to collect.
Another effort for Retford came through Blythen, his shot forced a corner that was subsequently dispatched and John Guy was able to knock back to his keeper.
As for so many times this season, the opening goal for the opposition came in the 40th minute, a free-kick was given to Mickleover after a push in the back on Foulds went unnoticed, the ball cut through to Ashton who had an easy finish to put his side into the lead.
It was a bitter blow for Retford who were looking to go in level at the break.
During the interval, Jon Knapper was replaced by Jordan Turner.
Mickleover had a good start to the second half, winning an early corner, Blake up to clear the ball, but injured in the process having to leave the field to receive treatment for a bloodied nose.
The second Mickleover goal came on 49 minutes, with Blake still off the field, Martin Smythe struck a sweet shot past Herriott to double the lead, then only a minute later, still without Blake, a third was conceded as Steadman drilled the ball low into the bottom corner to put the home side firmly in control.
With Blake back on the field after lengthy treatment, the fourth goal for Mickleover came in controversial circumstances as the ball was played into the box, there was a push on Herriott as he rose to collect the ball in the air, he was forced to drop the ball and Ashton scored his second of the afternoon with nothing given for the original foul.
Retford had a mountain to climb, and were almost back in with a shot as Booth and Turner combined, the latter unable to find the target, however he made no mistake in the 66th minute, a throw in was shielded by Booth for Turner to hit home past the keeper to pull Retford back into the contest.
Mickleover were reduced to 10 men on 75 minutes, Guy was shown his second yellow card after a bad challenge on Herriott in the United goal, leaving the keeper needing treatment and unable to take the remaining goal kicks.
Steve Owens tried to find something for his side when he rose to challenge Clarke in the air, the ball running loose with no one but a Mickleover defender to clear, then a free kick by Brammer found Blake who headed just wide.
Retford continued to find a glimmer of hope in the game, but as the minutes ticked away, Foulds’ shot was well over the bar and Booth almost found the forward run of Brammer, but it was back to defeat again with Mickleover hauling themselves further away from the drop zone.
Retford next face a tough test on Thursday evening against Worksop Town at Cannon Park, then a home fixture on Saturday as Kendal Town visit.