Retford secured the points with a last gasp 1-0 victory over 10-man Bridlington Town on Tuesday, in a game that could easily have gone either way.
The visitors had to play for 75 minutes a man down, but Retford’s poor finishing left them unable to put the game beyond reach.
It was a good start for Retford as Lee Holmes’ shot forcing a point blank save from Bridlington keeper Mark Wilberforce.
Craig Aspinall then had an effort parried as Retford took control of the opening stages.
Wilberforce again came to the fore when he blocked Holmes’ shot, a good chance going begging for the hosts.
On 16 minutes Tom Bennett went in on Graeme Severn with his studs showing, leaving the United defender needing treatment, and there were few appeals from the visitors as the red card came out.
The sending off spurred Bridlington on, Frank Belt firing a shot in and Craig Palmer seeing his strike saved by Jody Barford.
For Retford, Liam Wilkin broke free and his effort from a tight angle rolled agonisingly across the goalmouth.
Bridlington came back, Ash Allanson unlucky as his shot had Barford at full stretch, the ball whistling past the upright.
Wilkin then hit the bar for the Badgers, as the sides went in level.
Looking to take advantage of the tiring 10 men, Retford attacked in earnest after the break, Severn’s ball in for Holmes saved by the keeper.
Bridlington refused to go down without a fight, and Joel Sutton’s shot tested Barford once more.
Retford had a lucky escape when a short header back by Craig Fisher put Craig Hogg in, but with the goal at his mercy he shot wide.
The final quarter of an hour was tense for both sides, Bridlington desperate to reward their travelling fans with at least a point.
But as the game went into stoppage time, Andy Walkden’s cross was only cleared as far as James O’Neill and he sent a sweet right-foot shot into the top corner to delight the Badgers supporters.
The match wouldn’t end without controversy, as Bridlington were aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty when Sutton got into the box, appeared to be bundled over by Walkden, and the referee waved away appeals.
His final whistle brought an end to an exciting affair, and Retford returned to second place in the league.
There will be another though game on Saturday when United travel to Basford United, followed by a midweek trip to Glasshoughton Welfare as the preparations start for the FA Vase visit of Oadby Town on Saturday 19th.