Retford United 1-0 Newark Town: Late moment of magic from Mason Barlow seals points as Blues go seven points behind Central Midlands Football League leaders Thorne Colliery
A flash of individual brilliance decided the game as Retford United beat Newark Town 1-0.
The Blues made two changes from the side that earned a 3-0 win over Glapwell last week as Sam Bartle and Jonny Wiles replaced Matthew Clarke and Ben Wallace.
With both teams adopting a similar three at the back formation, the early exchanges were even though Town went close on a couple of occasions — James Gardner’s header from player-manager Nathan Arnold’s corner shaving the outside of the post.
Town's Mason Wilson-Rhiney also nudged the upright from an acute angle.
Igor Mlynarski was the inspiration for a great deal of the early Retford pressure, one cross being headed wide by Mark West before the winger then cut in from the left, sending a curling shot perilously close to the angle of post and bar.
The referee awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Newark area for a foul on West as momentum gradually shifted in Retford's favour.
The set piece was hit straight at Town 'keeper Harry Haywood, who then was forced into a low save at the foot of the post from a Mason Barlow shot, before half-time arrived with the game still goalless.
One of Town’s best efforts came on 54 minutes when a snap shot from Wilson-Rhiney forced Retford keeper Tom Crosby into a one-handed save as the ball headed for the top corner.
There was rather a lot of reliance on long ball tactics from both sides which did little for the game as a spectacle with too many balls running away from the pursuing forwards.
A period of Retford pressure ended with Brandon Kane blazing the ball high over the bar before Tom Brook sent a header inches too high from a right-wing corner.
Town made a couple of substitutions in an attempt to shake things up, Sid Costa replacing Zak Kersey and Sam Newell taking over from Wilson-Rhiney.
Bartle then sent a header wide of the target while at the other end West shot into the side netting from a narrow angle.
Just as it seemed that a point was within reach for Town, it was snatched away by a goal in the 84th minute which, ultimately, won the hosts the game.
West sent in another cross into the Town area which was headed back by Dean Conway for Barlow to send in the perfect drive which gave Haywood no chance.
There was no way back for the Blues, who dropped to third place, seven points behind runaway leaders Thorne Colliery.
Newark take a break from league action next Saturday as they host Clifton’s Development team in the first round of the Notts FA Senior Trophy (3pm).
Town’s Development side travel to Carlton Town B in the same competition.