Lions fall short against Retford

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HEANOR TOWN 0

RETFORD UNITED 2

A goal in each half saw the visitors complete the double over a Heanor Town side whose second half performance was woeful.

The best the Lions had managed in eight previous meetings with Retford United had been two draws, and they never looked like improving upon that.

Dwayne Wiley and Ian Clarke, twice, failed to find the net with half-chances in the first 25 minutes of a game in which defences were always on top.

It was the visitors who almost got first blood with Damien Clark having to go full stretch to an Adam Scott free kick.

Indeed, a series of needless and silly free kicks in dangerous situations looked like becoming Heanor’s downfall.

Gary Webster arrowed a 38th minute shot towards the bottom corner which Ayden Duffy got down well to for a big lad, but it was Retford who took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Bobby Johnson’s 20-yard shot took a huge deflection and wrong footed Clarke.

Heanor, in particular, had played some nice football in the first half, by what was probably one of the strongest teams the club has put out for many a long year, but the second half performance left much to be desired.

Despite all the wet weather, the pitch remained firm and in superb condition but Heanor’s delightful passing game went out of the window.

If the visitors’ first goal was fortunate, their second was superb. Richard Medcalf controlled, turned and hit a splendid low shot across the diving Clark into the far corner of the net after 67 minutes.

Heanor had seldom threatened a goal before this with Nathan Benger, looking for his 100th goal for the club, getting more and more isolated as the lone striker.

The introduction of new boy Tom Cooper-Richards injected some much-needed pace into the Lions’ attack, but the Retford defence held firm as Heanor made a concerted effort in the last ten minutes.

Benger clouted a half-chance high into the stand, and the Lions’ best chance, six minutes from the end, saw Cooper-Richards put a free header wide from Jason Foster’s cross.

Had that gone in, who knows? But even deflected shots in the last couple of minutes landed in the safe gloves of Duffy leaving Heanor to reflect on their eighth home defeat of the season.