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Notts Senior Trophy blues for ten-man Newark Town as Retford United earn revenge in cup final with 1-0 win



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Newark Town suffered a disappointing County Cup final defeat to fierce league rivals Retford United on Tuesday night, preventing the Blues from completing a historic league and cup double.

However, it was not all doom and gloom, with manager Nathan Arnold describing the cup as the cherry on top of the cake having already sealed the league title.

NEWARK TOWN celebrate the league win on Saturday. Credit: Graham Burrell
NEWARK TOWN celebrate the league win on Saturday. Credit: Graham Burrell

“The league is your bread and butter,” said Arnold.

“It was our top priority and the level of our performances in the league have been brilliant throughout.

“But I feel for the lads tonight.

“They were spraying champaign on Saturday, and they wanted to win the double, and now they are sat in the changing rooms gutted.

“And I think in many ways that shows you the kind of dressing room we have created.”

MASON BARLOW celebrates the winner for Retford United. Credit: Steve Mack, @stevemack2017 on Twitter
MASON BARLOW celebrates the winner for Retford United. Credit: Steve Mack, @stevemack2017 on Twitter

The deciding goal in the Notts Senior Trophy final came in the 59th minute when Retford United midfielder Mason Barlow reacted quickest to a flick-on from a deep set-piece.

Town’s players pleaded for the offside flag to be raised — but their calls were ignored.

Six minutes after the goal matters were made worse for the Blues when goalkeeper Harry Haywood was shown a second yellow card for charging out of his box and chopping down Retford striker Igor Mlynarski, having already been booked for a similar incident inside the opening 20 minutes.

TOWN ‘keeper Harry Haywood is shown a red card. Credit: Steve Mack, @stevemack2017 on Twitter
TOWN ‘keeper Harry Haywood is shown a red card. Credit: Steve Mack, @stevemack2017 on Twitter

Holding midfielder Rhys Lewis was sacrificed as Town brought on substitute ‘keeper Nick Eatough.

And Eatough was involved instantly, claiming the resulting free-kick before making an important save on 73 minutes when he tipped Mark West’s effort onto the post and out for a corner.

Town used both of their remaining subs — midfielder Daniel Horton and attacker Elliott Burrell — as they looked to force an equaliser with ten minutes of normal time to play.

Jonny Wiles went closest with a free-kick from the edge of the box on 85 minutes as Town failed to force a clear cut chance from open play.

The Blues then benefited by the fourth officials decision to play nine minutes of added time, which felt like a lifeline for the Town supporters around the ground.

The players, boosted by the additional time, became more direct in their approach and filled the Retford United box as they attacked with long balls, but they failed to find an equaliser.

Arnold, reflecting on what could have been done differently over the 99 minutes of football, said: “We could have been a little bit braver in possession in the first half and we could have taken more risks.

“We could have utilised the width of the pitch and gained control of possession.

“But there wasn’t anything in the game.

“As cup finals go, it was a bit of an anti-climax.

“Both sides played the same formation and we almost cancelled each other out.

“We could have been more physical with them rather than playing our own game, and we did that when we went down to ten men and, actually, we moved the ball better with ten men and created more chances.

“And to go down to ten men at the time that (with 30 minute s to play) it was a bit of a mountain to climb from there.

“It was a final that was always going to be decided by one goal, and that was the case.”

On the goal, Arnold said: “I wasn’t close to the incident but the lads are adamant he was offside.

“But I don’t want to make any excuses or blame officials.”

Town’s step six division is yet to be confirmed.

It is likely that the club will join the United Counties Football League One with CMFL South winners Blidworth Welfare and Notts Senior League winners Southwell City.

Local fixtures could also see Town face Grantham Town’s Academy and Harrowby United.

In the meantime, Arnold said: “We will enjoy the summer, regroup and then keep the momentum going next season.

“But overall I am so proud of the team because they kept going and, on another night, it could have been a lot different.”



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