RETFORD lost the opportunity to leapfrog Staveley into top spot at the weekend, after the sides drew at Inkersall Road.
Staveley had the first bite at the cherry as Gavin Smith’s looked to strike early in the game, but his effort was tame and straight at Jason Fisher.
United had a great chance after Barry Payne had played the ball for Carl Haslam to cross, Steve Owens leaving the ball for Adam Scott to strike, but his effort was over the bar.
Staveley were reduced to 10 men after 14 minutes, Owens breaking past the defence, but was held back by Tom Jones, the referee issuing a straight red card with Jones being the last man.
United found it difficult to make the extra man count, although Haslam had a good effort from a tight angle, but fired the ball at Ian Deakin in the Staveley net.
Staveley showed why they are unbeaten at the top of the league with a rasping shot by Ryan Damms curling wide of Fishers upright, then Jordan Eagers’ effort just over the bar.
Scott went close for Retford, the ball only inches wide, then Haslam picked up the ball on the right, cut inside into the box, only for his shot to lack power.
The first half ended with Chris Baugh latching onto Scott’s ball, his low shot saved at the near post.
The second half saw Staveley start strongly, Damms effort had Fisher at full stretch, then Andrew Fox flashed a shot wide.
Shortly before the hour, Staveley were in front, Eagers firing home from inside the box.
But Retford levelled three minutes later when Payne rose to head home a throw in, under pressure from Gavin Smith.
Scott was unlucky after Retford won a free-kick for a push on Haslam, his shot went over the wall and crashed against the bar.
Retford face third placed Brighouse Town at Cannon Park on Saturday.