AFC Darwen 3 Garstang 2: Riversiders fall to defeat in a game of two halves

Ric Coar scored Garstang's opening goal in their defeat at AFC Darwen
Ric Coar scored Garstang's opening goal in their defeat at AFC Darwen

Garstang FC lost their fourth consecutive away game as they went down 3-2 at AFC Darwen on Saturday.

There were recalls to the starting line-up for both Jake Salisbury and Andrew Murphy but Phil Nagy was missing due to an injury sustained in training earlier in the week.

The opening 20 minutes of the half proved to be a goalfest as, aside from Riversiders’ keeper Will Kitchen who was superb throughout, neither defence did themselves justice.

The deadlock was broken on seven minutes after Kitchen had made a fine save and conceded a corner.

The ball was swung in from the left-hand side and flicked on to leave the unmarked Nyle Ellis with the simple task of scoring from close range.

Garstang got themselves on level terms five minutes later as Ric Coar equalised from close range following good play by brother Alan.

Any jubilation was shortlived as, almost straight from the restart, an uncharacteristic mistake by Rob Hanslip allowed Leon Creech a run at goal and he finished well to restore the home side’s lead.

Nevertheless, Garstang levelled for a second time straight from the restart when Alan Coar headed home from Salisbury’s clever cross.

Darwen continued to press and Kitchen was again called into action to thwart a certain goal.

The home side went back ahead on 23 minutes when another corner from the left again found an unmarked player at the back post as Daniel Ashburner fired home from close range.

Both sides had numerous chances to score further goals in the half but a combination of poor finishing and two keepers on top of their game kept the score 3-2 at half-time.

The second half was a more controlled affair with both defences starting to play as they should.

Garstang were the better side in the second half as Kitchen only had to make one save of note, while at the other end, Jonny Hothersall and Alan Coar had golden opportunities to bring the scores level.

However, they were unable to take advantage of those chances, and though Garstang continued to press, they were unable to convert their possession into goals.