Garstang FC prove they are spot-on in claiming Trophy shootout success

Garstang keeper Will Kitchen was their hero in the shootout
Garstang keeper Will Kitchen was their hero in the shootout

Garstang progressed to the last eight of the Lancashire Trophy in midweek as they beat Atherton Collieries on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

Lee Baker’s players defeated the highest ranked team the club has met in a competitive game.

Their reward is a home tie in the quarter-finals against National League North side Southport, who will be the visitors to the Riverside in early December.

The Riversiders got off to a terrible start when, on two minutes, Atherton won the ball high in their half and countered at pace before Gareth Peet cut in from the left and hit a low shot across Will Kitchen and into the corner of the net.

To their credit, the home side, from the restart, played without any fear and started to look dangerous themselves with Shaun Sailor seeing an effort fly just pass the post.

This attacking mindset was rewarded nine minutes later when Reece Barrett fired a tremendous 25-yard effort into the top corner for a deserved equaliser.

Garstang’s midfield and attacking unit harried Colls, giving them little time on the ball and the game was very even.

Kitchen made a fantastic save to keep the scores level but most of the remaining time in the first half was played out in midfield.

The second half was more or less similar to the first with both sides pushing for a winner.

The clearer chances fell to the visitors but Kitchen was in superb form, denying Atherton on at least three occasions with one standout save in the final minutes of the game.

Meanwhile, Tom Graham and Cameron Ross had standout games, winning tackles, headers and blocking shots, while debutant Jack Bennett looked a fine acquisition.

The otherwise excellent Kieran O’Connor saw his header back to Kitchen fall short but, fortunately, the goalbound effort was blocked.

Baker used all his substitutes to freshen the side up but, at full-time, the match was level and would be decided by penalties.

Tom Entwisle took the first spot-kick and calmly fired it into the corner.

Atherton’s first penalty was hit low and hard but Kitchen, who has a fantastic record of saving penalties, kept up his run and made a brilliant low stop.

Garstang were now in the driving seat but needed to convert all of their penalties to be sure of victory.

Sailor, Jonny Hothersall and Graham all converted their penalties without any scares and Atherton scored with three of theirs, although Kitchen came close to stopping two of them.

Up stepped Dan Birch for the game’s deciding penalty and he calmly found the bottom corner, leaving the visitors’ keeper helplessly looking on as Garstang recorded a famous and deserved victory.