Retford end rivals’ promotion hopes with late Cooper winner

Retford United 1- 0 Basford United'29 March 2014'Toolstation NCEL Premier Division 'Retford's Gav Cooper celebrates with the United bench as he scores a late winner.''Football images from Retford United v Basford United, Toolstation NCEL Premier Division, Jones & Co Stadium, Leverton Road, Retford, England, UK, GBR. 29 March 2014. Image copyright Jon Knight Freelance Photography. No images may be reproduced without prior permission.
Retford United 1- 0 Basford United'29 March 2014'Toolstation NCEL Premier Division 'Retford's Gav Cooper celebrates with the United bench as he scores a late winner.''Football images from Retford United v Basford United, Toolstation NCEL Premier Division, Jones & Co Stadium, Leverton Road, Retford, England, UK, GBR. 29 March 2014. Image copyright Jon Knight Freelance Photography. No images may be reproduced without prior permission.

Retford United all but ended Basford United’s promotion hopes with a late winner against the fourth-placed side in the NCEL Premier.

Gav Cooper’s 86th minute goal gave Retford a 1-0 home victory.

Retford were without Jody Barford, injured in the midweek game against Parkgate, with James Hitchcock returning in goal, and a first start in over a month for James O’Neill.

Basford included former Retford players Ali Barcherini in goal and Fabian Smith in midfield, partnered by former England and Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie, back from suspension.

Early on there was frustration for Retford and their supporters as the offside flag was raised on too many occasions.

Retford had to make an early change, Tom Dorgan forced to retire, replaced by Jake Stannard.

A couple of minutes before the break, Retford almost took the lead, a free-kick after a foul on Cooper earned Martin Holt a yellow card, was struck by Bobby Johnson only inches wide of the target.

At the other end Danny Smith had to hook the ball off his own line.

Hendrie went close for the visitors after the break, and for the Badgers Reece Thompson saw a shot palmed round the post.

But Retford eventually got the crucial goal, on 86 minutes, when Johnson found Cooper to strike on the volley into the back of the net.

The goal sparked scenes of jubilation as he raced to the bench to celebrate with his manager.

Basford were further punished in stoppage time when a wreckless challenge on Thompson by Blair Anderson earned a red card.