Eastwood’s Notts Senior Cup campaign ended at the first hurdle on Tuesday night as they were unceremoniously dumped out by Retford United.
The hosts play a division below Gary Hayward’s men but that was far from obvious on this occasion, as two goals in each half did the damage.
Retford almost took the lead in the opening minute when a free-kick was put into the box by Bobby Johnson and Andy Walkden rose to head towards goal but a good save by James Wren kept the ball out.
A run by the pacy Henry Sibenge got in past the United defence but his cross was cleared by Jake Stannard, then another Eastwood attack led to Jordan Thomas getting one-on -one with Jody Barford but somehow he couldn’t find the target and Barford did well to block in what would be a costly early miss for the visitors.
Reece Thompson then raced into the box to play a short pass for Ben Muirhead only for the ball to balloon over the bar, but on five minutes Retford were in the lead as a great pass from Brett Lucas found the run of Thompson who made no mistake as he fired home.
The Retford pressure continued and Craig Aspinall soon hit the crossbar, while Eastwood’s Dan O’Donnell had an effort just wide of Barford’s upright.
Brett Lucas’s header from a free-kick was agonisingly wide of the post for Retford, but .Eastwood should have levelled when Sibenge broke through again, the former Armthorpe player striking the ball off the crossbar, with the bounce onto the line and out for Retford to clear.
Thompson hit a strike that had Wren at full stretch to palm away, but on 41 minutes United took a two goal advantage, Aspinall playing in Muirhead who took the ball in his stride to fire past Wren and put Retford into a commanding lead.
With Walkden going close again with a header from Johnson’s free kick, and Thompson thwarted once again by Wren, Retford looked good value for a place in the next round with what would be an entertaining second half to come.
Eastwood went straight on the attack in the second half, Sibenge forcing a good save from Barford in the first minute, but Retford fought back as Thompson’s effort from out on the right forced another fine save from Wren in his first game on loan at Eastwood from Tamworth.
A quick ball out from Wren into the run of Sibenge got Eastwood onto the attack, but again Barford was in the way to protect the Retford goal.
The chances then kept coming for Retford, O’Neill firing at the keeper, and Cross’s shot on target deflected for a corner.
A cross into the area was spilled by Wren with the ball falling at the feet of Muirhead who somehow put the ball over from close range, and Thompson having a shot saved.
Into the last five minutes and Retford would double their lead shortly after a brave save at the feet of Thompson by Wren, as Jack Medcalf was fouled in the penalty area and Johnson netted the spot-kick.
However, all was not over as in the 89th minute, Thompson challenged the keeper as he collected the ball at the edge of his box, Wren reacted by head-butting the Retford player in the back and he immediately started to walk to the changing rooms even before a straight red card was issued.
An outfield player took over and his first job was to pick the ball out of the net after another penalty from Johnson gave United a 4-0 win and a passage through to the quarter-finals.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013:
Retford: 1 Jody Barford 2 Jake Stannard 3 Danny Smith 4 Andy Walkden 5 Brett Lucas 6 Craig Aspinall 7 James O’Neill (c) 8 Bobby Johnson 9 Jack Cross 10 Reece Thompson 11 Ben Muirhead. Subs: Richard Medcalf, Craig Fisher, Gav Cooper, Graeme Severn
Eastwood: 1 James Wren 2 Elijah Reid 3 Luke Rowe 4 Anthony Gregory 5 Elliott Green (c) 6 Karl Cunningham 7 Jacob Sturgess 8 Danny O’Donnell 9 Gareth Grant 10 Jordan Thomas 11 Henry Sibenge. Subs: Josh Schofield, Vijay Selvam, Tyrone Burton, James Murphy, Dan Dobbie
Att: 71 Ref: J Bateman
Report and photo by Jon Knight