RETFORD United went down by a single goal, away at Nantwich Town on Saturday.
Badgers made the long trip with a different looking side to that which started against Matlock Town the previous weekend.
With Paul Shaw leaving the club to play in America, the Badgers were also without Ian Robinson, the injured Lee Whittington, and Steve Owens, Matt Caudwell and Niall O’Brien were all unavailable.
This gave an opportunity for Michael Blythen and Jordan Turner to start in attack, and a midfield place for John Knapper in the starting line-up.
Retford had a good opportunity early in the game, Dan White’s cross was not dealt with by the Nantwich defence and Ryan Hindley shot wide of the target.
A free-kick was then played into the Nantwich box and both Blythen and Turner challenged but it was hooked clear before the Retford players could attack.
Sam Foulds received a caution on eight minutes after a challenge on Ashley Carter, the free-kick was floated into the box, knocked on for Lewis Short to find the net, but the celebrations were short lived as the flag had been raised on the far side for an offside.
A good run into the box by Blythen was held up for the oncoming Hindley but the United player could not make contact with the ball as it rolled through to Adam Allcock in the Nantwich net.
There was a stoppage as Glyn Blackhurst and Jordan Connerton, both of Nantwich challenged the same ball in the air and a clash of heads left them both flat out on the ground. After a few minutes treatment by both physios, they had to leave the field, bloodied in battle before being replaced by Jonathan Crane and Darren Tinson respectively.
It was while Nantwich were temporarily down to nine men that they had a golden opportunity to take the lead, the ball crossed in by Michael Lennon finding the foot of Lewis Short who somehow put it the wrong side of the post.
Blythen and Turner looked to have given Retford a bit of bite up front and it was Blythen who was close when he found himself in a good position, but his shot was saved by Allcock.
Turner was pulled back by Tinson, but stayed on his feet to tee up a shot at goal, but his effort went over the bar.
Retford won another free-kick which almost found the head of Blythen but Michael Carr managed to get to it and clear.
The only goal of the game came on 41 minutes, Lennon fired low into the bottom corner to give his side the lead.
Retford tried for a goal before half-time, a long ball forward from Matt Blake found Turner but his first touch let him down and the chance had passed, then another ball for Turner to pick up from Blythen saw a shot that stung the hands of Allcock, but he was not too unduly troubled.
The second half saw Ellis go close with a header, but the flag had been raised for offside.
Luke Herriott pulled off a great save at his near post from another Tinson header keeping Retford in the game, and Retford should have found a leveller when a patient build up between Brammer, White and Knapper saw Hindley waste an effort as he fired the ball from long range straight at the keeper.
Lennon managed to get past two Retford challenges to burst into the box, but Ellis once again was firm in defence to stop the Nantwich striker in his tracks.
Matt Booth and Joe Boggild were both brought into the action at the expense of the tireless Turner and Blythen, and Booth’s first contribution was to test the Nantwich back four.
The hosts could have increased the lead only for another great stop by Herriott at the expense of Short, the United keeper stretching out a leg as the ball was heading for the target.
As the final few second ticked down, Herriott was the hero again when another great stop from close range kept Lennon at bay and the scoreline at 1-0, but despite the defeat, this was a fine display by Retford.
United face an away trip to Frickley Athletic on Saturday.
The Bassetlaw derby match against Worksop Town will take place on 23rd February.