Arnold Town 1
Retford United 2
BADGERS made the short trip to Arnold and returned with all three points in a physical local derby battle in front of Arnold’s highest home crowd of the season.
United started well, a run by Warren Hatfield was only just cut out by the Arnold defence as Carl Haslam looked to make connection in front of goal.
Brown had a shot that was just over the bar, but Arnold Keeper Martin Kearney got a touch for a United corner, the ball played in by Adam Scott was knocked back across goal by Danny Hayes for Corey Nightingale to shoot, but his effort was blocked.
The opening goal came on 12 minutes, Scott was pulled back as he raced in on goal, Tyrone Burton protesting his innocence and the referee saw some leniency and only issued a yellow card to the defender.
The subsequent free-kick from just outside the box was curled over the wall and into the net by Scott.
Haslam and Hatfield combined to find Scott who shot low to Kearney’s left, the keeper dropping to save the effort, but was surprised with the power as the ball ran through his hands and out for another United corner.
The dead ball was curled in by Haslam who hit the bar with the keeper well beaten.
The second half saw a different game with Arnold trying to get themselves back into the game in a more physical approach, a half that would earn them four further bookings.
Straight from the restart, Josh Schofield fired in an effort at Jason Fisher which was comfortably saved, and at the opposite end, on 46 minutes, United doubled their lead through Haslam.
The striker latched on to a ball from Hatfield to get into the box and cooly slid his shot past Kearney.
Fabian Smith saw yellow for a dive in the box as he tangled with Fisher, the referee in a good position despite the protests of the home side, then Kearney was cautioned a minute later for his constant complaints at the officials.
The game started to lose its edge and another booking moments later for Rob Austin set the tone for the remainder of the half as the game threatened to boil over.
Arnold pulled a goal back on 65 minutes, Liam Garner drilling the ball low into the bottom corner to give his side some hope for a share of the spoils.
United did well to hold on as Arnold pressured the defence, Martin Carruthers went close as his header flashed wide of the post, and he should have done better after he threw himself at another cross, but couldn’t make connection.
Badgers looked for a decisive third goal, Brown feeding Hatfield whose shot was mishit over the bar, then Scott cut in from the United left, but his effort was straight at the keeper.
United kept possession well as five minutes of stoppage time was played, the final word going to Scott whose effort earned a corner deep into time added on, giving United the chance to keep the home side at their own end of the pitch.
The final whistle sparked some angry scenesinvolving the Arnold players, United stayed calm however and left the field to a standing ovation from their good number of travelling fans.
Next Week United are on the road again as they face Liversedge FC on Saturday (10th) in the first of a double header against the West Yorkshire side, the next visitors to Cannon Park on 17th.