Retford United 0
Long Eaton United 1
Finding themselves short on league confidence, Long Eaton would have been dreading the away journey to in-form Retford United.
The Nottinghamshire-based side had won their previous five games with one of those victories against Eaton’s nemeses Worksop Parramore and were rising rapidly up the table.
By contrast, Long Eaton’s recent away record was scattered with wins and losses coming in almost equal dosage, partnered with a bottom half standing in the division. Long Eaton needed to take something from the game.
The match, played on a frosty afternoon, failed to really get going as neither side stamped their authority. A scrappy first-half was played out with no real chances - captain Shaun Rickford unable to find his spark.
The second-half proved no different with the score finally changing in the 81st minute.
Long Eaton’s striker Matthew Savage had little luck from his gutsy performance and had found himself on the substitutes bench in recent weeks, but he became the hero as he slid in from the back post to capitalise on a ball fizzed across the six yard box by Rickford to propel the visitors into the lead.
Long Eaton held on to the three points with fantastic saves from Tom Gutteridge in the dying moments of the game and some last ditch defending.
In recent interviews, manager Charlie Palmer had spoken of his disappointment at his side’s vulnerability against the top teams but this was a clear and fantastic response from the players and gave the whole club a Christmas lift.
Having three more fixtures to play before the New Year, Long Eaton hardly have time for celebrations.
The next tests are at home on Wednesday the 18th (played after the Advertiser went to press) against Winterton Rangers who sit in 21st place and then they host tenth placed Bridlington Town at the weekend.
Report by Adam Slater