Last game before break ends in draw

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NCEL PREMIER

Pickering Town 1

Retford United 1

BADGERS played their last competitive game for two weeks and returned from North Yorkshire with a point after they were floored with a late leveller from the hosts.

Retford had early chances when Warren Hatfield struck on target, but was denied by the keeper, and Carl Haslam managed to get past the Pickering defence, his shot going out for a corner as Pikes keeper Adam Mitchell got a hand to the ball.

A shot from the edge of the box by Haslam forced another corner, the ball was cleared to Chris Hall with his lay-off to Ricky Chambers being fired a fraction wide of the upright.

Pickering then mounted an attack as Tom Adams broke free, his shot forcing a good double save from Badgers keeper Jason Fisher.

Good link up play between Adam Scott and Haslam led to Scott having an effort that was just wide of the top corner.

A soft free-kick was conceded by Retford, Chris Gowen getting the ball round the wall, but Fisher managed to get a touch to turn away for the corner.

A tame shot by Jonathan Brown kept up the hosts’ pressure, but United kept moving forward, Haslam and Hatfield combining, the latter firing wide when he had time to think about his chance.

The game had chances, but nothing could be converted for either side.

Steve Baxter flashed an effort across goal, then an audacious chip by Dave Hartas almost caught out Fisher, but the ball went over the crossbar.

Scott made a strong run on the left, getting into the box, but Hartas was back defending and headed away for another United corner.

Ricky Chambers tested Mitchell with a shot from distance but the keeper was in no mood to be beaten.

The second half gave Retford more of the possession, but it was Pickering who had the first chance, Tom Reid forcing a good save from Fisher as he touched the ball over the bar.

Hatfield and Haslam did well to link up and send Scott off on a run getting to the far post, but put the ball wide, then Hatfield’s cross for Chambers was cleared as a defender stooped low to avert the danger.

Eventually, Retford’s toil paid off on 53 minutes, Scott scoring with a great curling effort from the corner of the box after some good work by Halsam on the left.

Retford kept on the pressure, Mellon’s effort was wide, then a curling shot from Scott forced an acrobatic save by the keeper to keep the scoreline down.

Mellon was once again unlucky, another well placed header was cleared off the line as Pickering kept tight in defence.

The game started to come to a close, Jamie Brown replaced Carl Haslam and almost made an immediate impact, a good run and shot once again tested Mitchell who was having a good game between the posts for Pickering.

The three points were frustratingly snatched away in the 88th minute, the referee awarded a disputed free-kick to Pickering after he had adjudged Rob Austin to have handled the ball as he rose to challenge with a header, earning the player and Scott a caution each for their protests.

The ball was sent into the box by Reid and as it bobbled around in the six yard box, Darren Clough stabbed the ball over the line to level the scores and ensure the game finished all square.

Retford United will now face two friendly games at Cannon Park with the visit on Tuesday evening (24th) of Evo-Stik side Brigg Town (7.45pm), and the following week, on 31st January, Blue Square North side Gainsborough Trinity will be the visitors to Cannon Park in a local derby game that is hoped will attract a good crowd as the Blues make the short trip down the A620.

The next competitive game will be against Wollaton FC of the Notts Senior League in the third Round of the Notts Senior Cup.

The match will take place at Cannon Park on Tuesday 7th February (7.45).