Arnold Town 1
Retford United 0
RETFORD slipped to another frustrating defeat at Arnold Town in a game that saw them reduced to 10 men.
United continued with Dec Howard in goal in place of the injured Jack Ward, while Arnold had former Badger Matt Blake in defence as both sides looked to turn their recent fortunes around.
Early on Liam Wilkin made a good run on the right to cut the ball back for Kyle Hadley but the ball ran loose for Arnold to clear.
Bobby Johnson and Wilkin linked up to win a throw in, sent deep into the box for Danny Frost to shoot on the turn only for his effort to roll wide of the upright.
Hadley saw his shot curl wide, then a free-kick was flicked on by Rob Sanderson for Frost, but the United played was in an offside position and the attack then broke down.
Frost and Ricky Law were cautioned for a flare up whilst United were waiting to attack a corner, then two minutes later, Tom Dorgan received a harsh booking as the referee appeared to want to stamp his authority on the game.
The game was all Retford during the opening 20 minutes, good work from Frost almost carved out an opportunity, his cross in was headed clear, then Arnold made a move forward, Bjorn Taylor had Howard scrambling back as his shot across goal was only just wide of the far post.
A ball into the box from Hadley almost found the diving head of Frost, but it was inches away from his head in a good position in front of goal.
But the opening goal was to come for the hosts on 26 minutes, against the run of play, Taylor managed to break through the United defence before slotting the ball past Howard to put his side on top.
Arnold then had another chance, Tony Law driving wide as he made good space, and he had another effort moments later hitting the ball on target forcing Howard into a save, the United keeper bearing the brunt of the effort having to receive treatment to his leg which was quite obviously giving him a lot of discomfort meaning that Danny Smith was having to take his goal kicks.
Hadley almost set Wilkin through but the keeper got to the ball first, then Arnold got forward again, Law looked to be through but was flagged for offside.
On 40 minutes, Howard broke down again and was forced off the field, Shaun Nesbitt replacing the keeper, and Tom Dorgan relinquishing his role at right-back to put on the shirt and play the rest of the goal as the Retford custodian.
Adam Scott’s free-kick late into the first half had Jack West at full stretch to palm the ball away from his top corner.
The sides went in at the break with Arnold 1-0 up, but there was more drama to come in a second half that started with a superb save by Dorgan, showing his hidden goalkeeping talents as he denied a fine effort for Arnold.
The game was to get worse for Retford on 51 minutes, a challenge by Nesbitt on Ricky Law was deemed dangerous by the referee, the official immediately pulling out a red card, United’s third of the season.
Wilkin was then cautioned for his protests as the game then threatened to get out of control.
Even with 10 men, Retford looked like they could get something from the game.
A free-kick sent in to the box had Frost rising to head, only into the arms of the keeper, then a corner ball in saw Sanderson’s header go wide.
Adam Campbell was cautioned for a bad challenge on James O’Neill who had to receive treatment as he tried to push his side forward.
Johnson’s superb free-kick almost found the net, only for West to make a great save to keep his side in the lead.
Another yellow card, this time to Thorne of Arnold for kicking the ball away started to get frustrating for both sets of fans, then the referee had to have words with the home bench as they delayed play by taking time to get a ball onto the pitch.
O’Neill was fouled again, this time by Joe Ward, again nothing given as the United support became ever more vocal.
Of the chances that remained, United’s Dorgan did well in goal denying Taylor and Law whilst United were unlucky with efforts from Frost and Hadley.
Retford manager Richard Sennett has to find another keeper for the next game against Armthorpe Welfare on Saturday, before a trip to Winterton Rangers on Wednesday.