Garstang 2 Nelson 0: Fourth straight victory for the Riversiders
Garstang FC made it four consecutive victories as they saw off Nelson 2-0 at the Riverside.
Boss Richard Cookney made just one change from last week’s fixture with Billy Joyce returning for the absent Nick Webster.
The first half was quite even in overall play but all the clear chances fell to Garstang.
Both Coar brothers had efforts well saved from close range and Sam Maddox saw a free-kick hit the top of the Nelson bar.
At the back, Dave Rossall and Cam Ross performed well as the away side were restricted to speculative efforts which never troubled Will Kitchen.
At the break, Phil Nagy replaced Maddox and Andrew Murphy was pushed into a more advanced position as the second half mirrored last week’s game at Steeton.
Rob Hanslip was all over midfield, breaking up Nelson attacks as the home side pressed for the game’s opening goal.
The game changed in a six-minute spell during the second half when Rossall appeared to barge into the back of a Nelson forward who was going away from goal.
The referee adjudged this to be a foul and awarded a spot-kick for the visitors but Kitchen pushed away Harvey Macadam’s effort.
On 60 minutes, Nelson keeper Ben Parkinson spilled a goalbound effort and Alan Coar followed up to try and turn home the rebound.
In doing so, Coar was adjudged to have fouled Parkinson and was shown a second yellow card.
This prompted Cookney to make further changes with Josh O’Neill and Matthew Griffiths being introduced for a tiring Joyce and Murphy, who had put in a great shift for the team.
Rossall marshalled the defence superbly as, despite being down to 10 men, the Riversiders looked like the team who were going to break the deadlock.
The lead came on 76 minutes when Jonny Hothersall fed O’Neill, whose cross was half-blocked and fell kindly to Ric Coar who was on the spot to tap home from close range.
The speed and direct running from O’Neill and Griffiths caused the visitors no end of problems, which freed up space for Hothersall to get the ball in dangerous positions.
With three minutes left, one of those attacks saw Hothersall barged to the ground and a penalty awarded.
Hothersall stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way as Garstang took an unassailable lead.
O’Neill had been on the receiving end of robust challenges and, late on, one of those saw him on the ground, surrounded by Nelson players.
There was a melee with pushing and shoving and, after order was restored, a number of players and officials from both sides received their marching orders.
As a result, the match ended with O’Neill sent off for Garstang with Charlie Lloyd and James Wolfenden dismissed for the visitors.
It meant the Riversiders moved up four places up to 14th in the league table with games in hand on all the clubs around them.