Staveley MW beat Retford 4-0 on Tuesday night to move back up to seventh in the NCEL Premier Division.
Ryan Damms hit a brace, with further strikes from Nathan Forbes and Kurtis Morley.
Clear-cut chances on goal were at a premium during the opening 20 minutes, while the game became ever more scrappy as the young referee let several heavy and borderline dangerous challenges go unpunished, in the name of letting the game flow.
Allowances need to be made for a certain amount of understandable clumsiness when underfoot conditions become increasingly difficult, but it was fairly obvious that there would be a flashpoint somewhere down the line and, inevitably, there was, just before the half-hour mark.
The only goal of an unspectacular first half, came via a Ryan Damms penalty in the 22nd minute, after the busy Staveley striker had been upended inside the Retford area.
There was a sense of justice attached to the goal, given that Damms had unceremoniously been flattened twice already, but hadn’t been given the free-kicks either challenge warranted.
The second half continued pretty much in the same vein as the first, with the supporters of both teams beginning to loudly berate the match officials in equal measure at wearingly frequent intervals, it wasn’t exactly a game for the purists and it would certainly have benefitted from having a stronger team of match officials overseeing some of the carnage that was unfolding.
The next goal would be vital and while the visitors were still only a goal ahead (and well on top of the game), Retford weren’t out of it just yet and their own home grown talents Sam Hutchinson and Jack Booth were starting to make their presence felt to good effect.
The aforementioned ‘flashpoint’ duly arrived, when Ellis Wall flew into a tackle near the halfway line, which earned him a yellow card and players from both teams became involved in a full scale argument, during which Gareth Campion was red carded for an “alleged” head butt.
He’d certainly gone nose-to-nose in a confrontational manner, but had actually stopped just short of actually making any contact with anyone.
The lead was then doubled when Forbes’ shot bobbled awkwardly in front of Tom Fuller and the ball found its way into the back of the net.
Jordan Eagers came on in place of Jordan Hodder and offered the visitors more attacking options, as the home side started to leave a few gaps, as they pushed forwards chasing the game.
Michael Trench let fly with a rasping shot after running 30 yards with the ball, but Fuller got down well and saved at the expense of a corner.
Forbes took a short corner to Trench whose cross was hooked away from immediate danger, but straight into the path of Watts, who turned and knocked an inviting pass back across the face of goal that Damms only had to touch over the line.
Kurtis Morley who had come on in place of Sam Finlaw just before the third goal, took advantage of a Retford defence who were now in complete disarray and powered home a sublime shot from outside the box on 76 minutes to finish off the home side.
His strike was from roughly the same spot that he’d netted for Staveley’s Under 21’s against Retford at Cannon Park a few weeks ago - they must be sick of the sight of him by now.
Jack Booth had the opportunity to reduce the arrears inside the last five minutes, but he blazed a shot over the bar from close range having got himself into a great position.
Watts almost topped off a great shift with a goal, when he turned his marker and drilled the ball towards the United net, but Fuller had got his angles right and saved well.
In the last minute, Fuller had t be alert again when he pulled off a double save from the hat trick chasing Damms.