Retford United ended a run of 12 straight defeats with a convincing and hugely important 2-0 victory at Liversedge on Saturday.
Hard work on the training ground was followed by attractive attacking football, as the new look Badgers beat their fellow NCEL Premier strugglers.
For the first time since taking over as interim manager Rich Williams was able to name 16 senior players in his squad
Only Brett Lucas and Tom Dorgan were unable to make the trip to West Yorkshire as Williams gave competitive debuts to Matt Thornton, Craig Laight, Aaron Richards and Josh Wright as well as welcoming back David Buck and Kyle Hadley.
Retford started brightly, taking the lead with just over a minute on the clock.
A quick break down the right saw Hadley feed Jimmy Walker who was unable to control the ball on a bobbly surface, but the loose ball fell to Badgers’ captain Adam Lee who kept his composure to rifle a brilliant half-volley across Sam Dobbs and into the roof of the net.
With the wind and momentum Badgers went about their task with renewed vigour and almost went two ahead when the home defence allowed a Matt Leese goal-kick to bounce and Liam Wilkin saw his volley sail just over the bar.
There was a scare at the other end when a long throw found its way to the back post and an unmarked Kieran Corley, but Leese brilliantly tipped the ball onto the post.
Retford dominated the remainder of the first half. Wright went close to netting his first goal for the club as his neat footwork bamboozled the home back line but his first effort was saved by Dobbs and the rebound cleared off the line.
Liversedge’s frustration showed as a number of late tackles flew in – the worst being when Jameel Nawaz appeared to stamp on David Buck, only to receive a yellow card.
Ten minutes before half-time the lead was finally doubled.
A brilliant interchange of play between Hadley and Buck saw the Badgers’ left-back drive into the box and square for Wilkin, a deflection helping his effort into the bottom corner.
The second half was a more even affair as Retford were made to contend with a very strong wind and the low, bright spring, making the constant Liversedge long balls difficult to defend.
Eli Hay cut inside and let fly just over the bar. Minutes later he went even closer, rattling the Badgers crossbar.
At the other end Lee crossed to the back post where Wilkin’s header looked destined for the top corner until a brilliant save from Dobbs turned it behind.
A brilliant double save from Leese denied the frustrated hosts, while Wilkin’s heavy touch gave Dobbs enough time to shut down the angle and smother the ball.
But Badgers were soon celebrating a hard-earned three points which turned out to be even more vital as both Armthorpe and Nostell Miners Welfare also picked up maximum points again.
Liversedge:Dobbs, Jackson S, Newton, Rothera, Hope, Jackson T (c) (O’Gara, 5), Nawaz (Andre, 65), Zola, Wood, Corley, Hey. Unused: Haley, Hilton.
Retford United: - Leese, Thornton, Buck, Wright (Swain 88), Laight, Hardman, Richards, Walker, Wilkin, Lee (c), Hadley (Dean, 72). Unused: Swannack, Muirhead.
Goalscorers: Lee 2, Wilkin 36
Yellowws: Nawaz, Zola; Buck.