West Lancashire League Premier Division
Thornton Cleveleys 2
Garstang FC 3
A depleted Garstang squad twice came from behind to record their first League win since early September in atrocious weather conditions at Thornton on Saturday.
Without Melling who had been transferred back to Longridge during the week and the injured Max Owen manager Iain Swan drafted Panepinto and Carlo Mattichechia into his squad.
Opportunities were few and far between, the first real chance falling to McGough in the 23rd minute who brought a great save out of Brindle in the Garstang goal.
The game sparked into life, Bell playing on the right hand side of midfield made a strong run towards the Thornton goal before pulling his shot wide, then Poole did well to pull the back for Dodd who showed good skill but couldn’t hit the target in the 35th minute.
Thornton took the lead in the 40th minute when the Garstang defence failed to close down Douthwaite on the left who was allowed to cross for Smith to head home at the far post.
Garstang’s task looked enormous when Brindle failed to come out for the second half having torn his hamstring just before the break.
Anderson donned the “green jersey” with Mattichechia replacing Anderson’s position on the left. The change didn’t seem to have any adverse effect on Garstang as they pressed for the equaliser.
Chances fell to both Bell and Louth, before the goal came in the 65th minute. It was another good move that had involved Bell, his astute pass into makeshift striker Dodd who turned quickly before riffling the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Poole should really have put Garstang in front on 72 minutes when he could only hook Bell’s cross into the arms of the Thornton keeper
Disaster struck for the visitors when Bell was adjudged to have bundled over his man in the box, up stepped Ralston to make it 2-1.
Panepinto came on for the tiring Taylor and almost immediately it was 2-2 when Helliwell cut inside from the right and hit a shot past home keeper Smith. Garstang were awarded a spot kick on the 88th minute after a foul on Dodd. Helliwell coolly slotted home his second goal to seal a memorable and deserved victory.
From Baker and Fawcett at the back to Poole and Dodd up top with a special mention for the tireless Bell the whole team worked hard to achieve this result.
Garstang: Brindle, Crossley, Lough, Fawcett, Baker, Taylor, Bell, Helliwell, Poole, Dodd, Anderson. Subs: C. Mattichechia, Panepinto, Swan.
Thornton Cleveleys: M. Smith, Didlock, Douthwaite, Ralston, McGough, McAlpine, Nay, Slater, Dawson, P. Smith, Rawcliffe: Subs: Newsham, Thompson, Necklenburgh, Dagger.
l Fixtures – Saturday December 21: Eagley v Garstang; and Coppull Utd Res v Garstang Res.