Retford United were unlucky not to earn at least a point on Saturday, when they lose 2-1 to Athersley Recreation despite playing 70 minutes with 10 men.
Leigh Hutchinson was sent off early in the game at the Jones and Co Stadium, but the Badgers showed much spirit and commitment.
The wind was a factor in the game with the high winds swirling around the ground making it difficult for both sides to get the ball into the areas they wanted.
Adam Lee broke through thanks to a pass from Jordan Hardman, making his debut after his signing from Armthorpe Welfare, but the keeper beat the United striker to the ball.
Hutchinson struck wide from Tom Elders’ pass, then Jason Swannack’s free-kick was floated into the area, Hutchinson only just losing out to the keeper in the air.
A shot from Daniel Joynes was somehow was cleared by Retford as Athersley attacked, but it was Retford making all the early running, Hutchinson crossing for Kyle Hadley at the far post, he won the header for Lee to strike, but the ball was over the bar thanks to a fingertip save.
Tom Fuller made a good stop from Josh Moore who looked to be throguh on goal, the young United keeper keeping the visitors at bay.
On 19 minutes, a challenge by Hutchinson just inside his own half saw a reaction from the Athersley player, and with Hutchinson pushing the player away the referee had no choice but to show a red card.
Hutchinson was the third Retford player to see red against Athersley this season after Reece Thompson and Jordan Cooper were dismissed on the opening day of the season.
Athersley made the most of their advantage and on 21 minutes were in front – the ball struck into the bottom corner by Joynes.
Adam White had a chance for the visitors that was pushed away for a corner by Fuller then Retford had a chance, Jimmy Walker’ firing over.
Another free-kick for Retford was hit over by Walker after Lee was fouled, but the first half ended with Athersley in front.
Josh Batty was introduced at half-time at the expense of Elder and he was involved in the first of the action playing the ball through for David Buck, Lee Bennett tangling with the United defender but the appeals for a penalty were waved away.
A great cross from Hadley to Batty was hit into the ground and was easy for the keeper to collect,then Athersley went close through Moore but his effort was wide.
A good move between Swannack and Batty saw the ball hooked over the bar by the defence, Walker curling the corner over everyone and into the top corner to level the scores for a delighted Retford.
It was game on with a little short of 20 minutes remaining – John Groom falling as he tried to control the ball letting Athersley in, but Fuller again stopped the shot from Moore.
On 79 minutes, Retford hearts were broken with Jack Briscoe finding the net to put Athersley back into the lead, cutting in from the right to fire past Fuller.
United didn’t lay down and a shot from distance was caught on the line by the keeper, and Batty had his head in his hands after getting round the keeper but putting his shot just wide of the post.
Walker could have been the hero for a second time, a pass from Muirhead controlled with defender and keeper in attendance, he went for the shot that was just over the bar.
In stoppage time, Lee Bennett saw red for something he said to the keeper after having his run blocked by Fuller, then Walker’s forward ball into the box was just caught by the keeper with Lee chasing, but it was too late and another defeat for Retford, who can take plenty away from the game in what was a spirited performance.
United travel to Garforth Town on Saturday in the NCEL Premier Division.