AFC Phoenix 0-8 Retford United (Central Midlands League Premier Division North) 29.01.22
Liam Kay took his high-flying Badgers to Rotherham on Saturday, opposing that of bottom club AFC Phoenix, and set about racking up the goals, registering eight without reply in the Central Midlands League North contest.
A four-goal salvo from Charlie Baird, a hat-trick from Mark West, and a lobbed free-kick from Brandon Kane would cap a dominant performance from the Badgers, and all that after a laboured, opening ten minutes.
The remaining half hour of that opening period would see some five goals fired home, as Retford United showed why they’re serious title contenders, after all, you can only beat what’s in front of you.
It would be Baird who’d claim the opening salvos, notching twice in the space of six minutes, the first from a fantastic strike past the home ‘keeper, before following it up by getting on the end of some brilliant, interchange play, between Stuart Ludlam and West, Baird being played in and firing home his, and Retford’s second.
The Phoenix ‘keeper would then make the cardinal sin, on 24 minutes, making a mistake with a goal-poacher of the calibre of West lurking about, and so it proved, the error being pounced upon and West proceeds to add the third.
There was still time for more in the opening half as well, and when the Badgers are in this kind of mood, it quickly becomes a matter of how many.
As the half hour is passed, Kane set himself for a free-kick, and with it lofts the ball over the home ‘keeper and into the back of the net – granted there may have been the sniff of a deflection, by Kane will no doubt claim it.
Although the Badgers ‘only’ registered the five, in a one-way traffic first half, it could have been much more when in quick succession heading into the final five, both Igor Mlynarski, and Aaron Fell respectively, hit the post.
West then doubled up in the closing stages of the first half, with the assist coming from Danny Booth, the Badgers striker smashing the ball into the top, left-hand corner of the home goal.
The one-way traffic would continue throughout the second period, with Baird coming closest to claiming a hat-trick in the opening exchanges, but his effort, a few minutes after the restart, lands the wrong side of the upright.
However, West would be the one who’d be first to the hat-trick, coming off a Baird shot which rattled the crossbar, reacting to volley home his third, and his sides’ sixth of the game; Baird though, he’d grab his third of the game just five minutes later with the Badgers very much in cruise control.
A handful of changes either side of Baird’s third, then the frontman would claim his fourth, and the Badgers’ eighth of the afternoon when, of those substitutes, Owen Fieldsend, on for Jay Paling just minutes earlier, would send a long ball forth, and Baird, with a solo effort, wrapped up the points.
With games in hand on the sides above, and just six points splitting the top four sides, Retford United’s fourth place can change in an instant, and they travel to fifth place Dinnington Town on Saturday (5 February) afternoon.
Retford United: Tom Crosby, Jason Paling (Owen Fieldsend 60), Tom Brook. Danny Booth, Stuart Ludlam, Aaron Fell, Charlie Dawes, Igor Mlynarski, Brandon Kane (Mason Barlow 61), Charlie Baird, Mark West (Dean Conway 53).
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @RetfordUnited a good day for dominant Retford in South Yorkshire.