GARSTANG FC officials have issued a rallying cry to the town’s football fans to get behind the team to help them beat the drop.
Garstang have occupied one of the bottom two relegation places of the West Lancashire League since the second week in August after a nightmare season, and only registered their first win of the league campaign in February.
But a spirited turnaround in fortunes since new manager Michael Stringfellow took the helm in late November has given them a fighting chance of avoiding the drop with just two games to play.
The scenario is fairly simple – if Garstang win their final two matches, they stay up.
Garstang can reach 27 points with victory over Lostock and Coppull, whereas the two sides above them, Tempest United and Stoneclough, each have only one game left and can therefore only reach 26 or 27 points respectively, with Stoneclough’s inferior goal difference (-38 compared to Garstang’s -30) meaning it would take a monumental result in their final game to keep them up if Garstang won their two games.
Stoneclough play their final game this Saturday away at 12th placed Slyne. If Stoneclough lose and Garstang win then Stoneclough would be down, with Garstang moving out of the relegaton places for the first time this season with a game to go.
If Stoneclough draw and Garstang also take a point it wouldn’t send Garstang down, but they would need to win their final game to stay up. If Stoneclough draw, then a defeat for Garstang would send Garstang down on Saturday.
Assuming Garstang can get some sort of result on Saturday to keep their hopes alive, they may yet face an anxious wait to learn their fate.
Garstang’s final game is again at home, against fifth placed Coppull United on May 1.
A win against Lostock and another against Coppull would guarantee survival, but if they drop points in either game or both games there may still be a chance they could stay up, depending on Tempest United’s result in their final game – which isn’t played until four days later on May 5.
The good news for Garstang is that Tempest go to second-placed Blackpool Wren Rovers in that fixture, which could still see Wren Rovers in with a chance of the title if they beat leaders Charnock Richard in a showdown match on May 2.
With Garstang’s two remaining games being at the Riverside, club officials believe home advantage could be decisive – and have called for plenty of vocal support on April 28 and May 1.
The ambitious club have unveiled plans to improve the ground to meet the ground grading criteria for playing at a higher level, with work due to start this summer, so relegation would be a major setback.
“Michael has done everything possible to improve the team, he has a professional approach and has bought in to what we are striving hard to achieve here’’ said a club spokesperson.
“He is confident that the last two games will be won and appeals for the great local support to cheer his side to victory in both games.”
Garstang FC chairman Adrian Wilding added: “We have had to overcome many hurdles in the past four years, the last two being particularly testing but we remain focused on our original objectives and ambitions for the club.
“Whatever the football outcome is at the end of the season we will stick together and continue to push forward in the season to come.”
The run in...
Garstang (16th position, 21pts)
v Lostock (h), April 28
v Coppull (h), May 1
Tempest United (15th position, 23pts)
v Blackpool Wren Rovers (a), May 5
Stoneclough (14th position, 24pts)
v Slyne (a), April 28