A LATE goal denied Retford United a point away at play-off hopefuls Colwyn Bay on Saturday.
Badgers travelled to Wales to take on second placed Colwyn and returned empty handed after a spirited display was ruined with a late winner for the home side.
A strong start for the Badgers saw Steve Owens win a corner, sent into the box by Steve Brammer for Matt Blake whose header ran wide of the post.
Michael Blythen had a strike at goal, but was frustrated when his effort sailed over the bar, then Colwyn Bay had their first chance through Rob Hopley who fired wide of the upright leaving David Darwent untroubled.
Retford won a free-kick that found its way out to Ian Robinson whose shot took a deflection for another Retford corner.
The second placed side had two chances in quick succession, both falling to Hopley, his first shot was saved by Darwent, then his second effort was blocked by Darwent before Sam Foulds cleared.
A speculative overhead kick in front of goal by Gareth Evans almost put the hosts ahead, but he was off target, then Jon Newby found the net, but he hadn’t heard the whistle as he was flagged for offside.
Good running from Jordan Turner managed to keep the ball in play as he crossed in for Steve Owens who challenged the keeper with the ball dropping to Foulds, he managed to get the ball wide to Matt Caudwell, but his cross lacked danger.
Steve Owens did well to rob the fullback to make a break, finding Blythen who shot wide.
Steve Brammer had a chance after Turner’s initial shot had hit the legs of a defender, and again the target was missed.
David Darwent found himself committed in the air as Colwyn Bay attacked, Newby should have done better with his finish, only to put it over the bar.
Retford lost Brammer through injury on the half hour, a good run on the right by the United midfielder was cleared by Chris Sanna who had to leave his box to put the ball out for a throw in, Brammer had fallen awkwardly and was forced to leave the field after treatment to be replaced by Adam Scott.
Ian Robinson twisted and turned to get a shot in on goal, then a good move by Colwyn Bay left the United defence open, but Damien Allen put the ball over with his header.
Turner made the most of a mistake in defence as the ball bounced awkwardly, he found Owens who cut back for Foulds who in turn played the ball to Blythen and again the target proved elusive for the United striker.
A strong first half for Retford who were more than holding their own against the side pushing for promotion and there was little to separate the two sides.
The Seagulls then started the second half with more purpose, a corner ball scrambled away with Darwent eventually getting hold of the ball, then another corner ball was initially cleared by Matt Blake with Sam Foulds clearing the resulting diving header off the line.
The hosts then had a golden opportunity to open the scoring through substitute Karl Noon, somehow he managed to spoon his shot over the bar from close range.
Retford won a free kick that was sent deep into the box, Foulds rising to head over the bar.
Turner ran into the box after a great pass from Foulds, but he couldn’t get past the last defender as he got into a good position.
Adam Scott laid off for Robinson to find Turner, he chested the ball down and released the ball into the path of Blythen, but he could only fire his shot at the keeper.
Blythen sent in a deep cross that had Scott running to meet, but the ball was slightly awry and hit the roof of the net.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, it looked like Retford were to earn a well deserved point from their long trip, and almost nicked the points when Matt Caudwell made a run inside from the corner flag and his ball in had Sanna scrambling as the ball ran just wide of the far post.
Colwyn Bay consolidated their position in the table with two minutes remaining, a slow build up in front of goal had frustrated their fans who were urging for a shot, before Allen finally got the final touch from close range to beat Darwent and leave Retford with their heads in their hands wondering how they would return home with nothing after one of their best away performances of the season.
The Badgers next host Champions elect FC Halifax Town at Cannon Park on Saturday before they travel to Bradford Park Avenue a week later as the season now reaches it’s climax with only four games remaining.