Avro 2 Garstang FC 1: Riversiders suffer controversial Cup exit

Garstang were beaten at the weekend
Garstang were beaten at the weekend

Garstang exited the Division One Cup on Saturday with a controversial 2-1 defeat at Avro in their quarter-final tie.

This was the Riversiders’ third visit to the plastic pitch this season with the two previous encounters bringing convincing victories for the Oldham-based team.

However, if the hosts thought that they would enjoy another comfortable afternoon, then Lee Baker’s men had other ideas.

In cold and overcast conditions, Garstang were on the front foot from the start and an early Shaun Sailor shot was palmed away for the game’s first corner.

In reply, Avro mounted an assault of their own as Duncan Knott’s rasping drive struck the post before Dan Birch did likewise at the other end.

As the game progressed, Avro started to show why they are placed near the top of the division with Phil Nagy having an interesting tussle against Ryan Hanson.

Birch headed off the line as the Garstang backline stood firm despite numerous Avro attacks.

A breakaway saw Sailor force a good save from home keeper Dale Latham before Garstang took a 32nd minute lead.

A fantastic pass from Tom Graham found Jake Salisbury, who squared the ball hard and low for the onrushing Jonny Hothersall.

It caused mayhem in the home defence and, after a mix-up, the ball squirmed through the keeper’s legs and over the line for a 1-0 lead to Garstang with Neil Sagar eventually credited with an own goal.

The second half started with Avro in determined mood as Hanson forced a fine save from Will Kitchen.

Hanson looked dangerous for the home side, who saw a penalty appeal waved away before Garstang broke and Hothersall shot wide.

The game continued to ebb and flow with good football being played by both sides and a number of chances created.

Latham’s double save denied Salisbury and Graham before the game turned on 79 minutes.

An Avro corner was only half-cleared and then blasted goalwards by substitute Louis Potts.

The ball pinballed through a forest of legs and crept inside the right-hand post to level the scores.

Then, with a penalty shootout looming, Avro took an 83rd minute lead when Mike Norton seemed to control a cross with his arm before firing home.

Garstang tried desperately to get back on level terms with Ric Coar hitting the post and forcing another save as the clock ticked down before Avro saw the game out.