Garstang 2 AFC Darwen 5: Second-half collapse sinks the Riversiders

Garstang were beaten on Saturday as they lost at home to AFC Darwen'Picture: Steve Beesley
Garstang were beaten on Saturday as they lost at home to AFC Darwen'Picture: Steve Beesley

Garstang FC’s players and management were left disappointed after they lost 5-2 to AFC Darwen at the weekend.

Boss Richard Cookney had numerous selection headaches to contend with as the Riversiders were without Tom Graham, Jack Swindlehurst, Jonny Hothersall, Cam Ross, Ben Roberts and Ric Coar.

The first half was an even affair, and with both defences looking shaky, the game promised goals.

Both keepers made good saves with Garstang’s Will Kitchen making a couple of excellent stops as the visitors pressed hard to score the game’s opening goal.

This arrived on 15 minutes and went the home side’s way following a rapid counter-attack down the left wing.

The excellent Andrew Murphy and Alan Coar linked up nicely, laying the ball into the path of Harry Garstang who, without breaking stride, hit a low shot into the corner of the net.

The lead, however, was shortlived when the Riversiders gave away a needless free-kick 10 yards from the home side’s box two minutes later.

This was taken quickly and Jamie Edwards managed to shrug off a last-ditch challenge to beat Kitchen from close range.

The scores were only level for a few minutes when Garstang’s best player on the day, Murphy, fired home following another good move to give them the lead again.

Any euphoria dissipated on the half-hour when James Forster made an unnecessary challenge inside the area and gave away a clear-cut penalty.

The resulting spot-kick was calmly converted by Ryan Steele to equalise for the visitors.

Further chances came and went for both sides, and at half-time, the scores were even at 2-2.

The second half became something of a calamity for the Riversiders where every chance created by the visitors appeared to be converted as Darwen scored a further three goals.

Some of them were down to excellent play and finishing with the first coming two minutes into the second half from Leon Creech.

Nyle Ellis extended their lead with a fourth goal just after the hour before he wrapped up the scoring with his second in added time.

At the other end Garstang had a bag full of chances with Murphy, Alan Coar and Jake Salisbury having golden opportunities to score.

However, they failed to take them and it was a case of what might have been.