The Blues of Newark Town faced Retford for the fourth time this season and, as has been the case in the previous three meetings, there was little to choose between them, the outcome being an absorbing draw played out in front of a bumper crowd of 231 reports Richard Lane.
There was just one change to Newark’s starting eleven in the previous game, Steve Carty taking the place of Tyler Martin who dropped to the bench.
A combination of a difficult pitch and a strong wind made playing conditions tricky and both sides took time to adjust. An early Jonny Wiles cross almost found Carty at the far post, while Ed Munton’s well directed header to Lewis Chambers was hit wide of the target. Nathan Burrows came to Town’s rescue on 22 minutes as Mlynarski got the better of Munton and homed in on goal bringing a timely block from the keeper, Luke Boddy completing the clearance. Newark wasted a golden opportunity to go ahead on 32 minutes as George Asplin was upended in the area, but Chambers’ attempt from the penalty spotfailed to beat Retford keeper Crosby. With the wind increasing, judging passes became even more of a lottery and this, combined with a procession of free kicks for petty offences, affected the latter stages of the first half much of which was played in midfield . Kane blasted the ball high over the bar as Retford threatened, Asplin repeating the feat at the other end in the next attack.
Playing with the wind more in their favour in the second half, Town looked more of a threat. Tom Moore made a storming run down the middle before laying the ball off to Carty, whose shot was deflected behind for a corner. Retford retaliated and looked set to take the lead but as Conway broke clear he was halted by an offside flag. There was controversy on 62 minutes as Luke Boddy was shown a second yellow card after a Retford player went down. Significantly the referee hadn’t given a free kick and his assistant hadn’t flagged but after noisy intervention from the Retford bench, he conferred with the assistant and Boddy had to walk. Playing with ten men seemed to have little effect on the Blues, Rhys Lewis dropping deeper to plug the gap. Burrows did well to keep out a Conway shot and then produced a well-tImed punch to clear a Kane free kick. Town’s best spell going forward came in the later stages. Asplin had his goalbound effort tipped over at the last minute by Crosby and in the last minute of the game the Blues came within inches of taking the points, as first Wiles saw his 25 yard drive rebound from the bar, then seconds later in a goalmouth scramble, sub Danny Boulton scuffed the ball wide from close range.
Town’s next game sees them at home to local rivals Collingham on Saturday, with their replayed Notts FA Senior Cup tie with Kimberley Miners Welfare scheduled for Wednesday February !2th.
TEAM – Burrows, Munton, Moore, Boddy, Parsons, Lewis, Asplin, Wiles, Chambers, Price (Boulton), Carty (Bridge)