Garstang’s players pass their test of character

Garstang defeated Manchester Gregorians in the Lancashire Shield last weekend
Garstang defeated Manchester Gregorians in the Lancashire Shield last weekend
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Garstang manager Lee Baker hailed his players’ mental strength after watching them reach the last eight of the Lancashire Shield.

The Riversiders booked their spot with a penalty shootout victory at Manchester Gregorians on Saturday.

The game had ended goalless before Baker’s players eventually progressed 7-6 on spot-kicks.

While happy to have won, Baker was more pleased at his squad’s resilience on the day.

He said: “We were playing on an old 3G pitch, against a team we don’t know, and without any barriers between the spectators and the game.

“It didn’t have a true reflection of what we’re used to in the West Lancashire League.

“The surface wasn’t the modern 3G one so the result didn’t really bother me but, in terms of how the lads approached it, it was another mental test.

“I’m just so pleased that they tackled it in the right way; we’d said in the changing rooms that there were no excuses – we had to get the job done and go home.”

While acknowledging the possibility that the game could have gone to penalties, Baker insisted no practice had been done beforehand.

Instead, it was a case of picking the players and trusting them to do their bit from 12 yards.

“It was quite funny,” he said.

“We got to penalties and I’d already picked the five players before they came over for the huddle.

“I didn’t want the lads to choose or decide; that’s down to myself and Neil (Beesley, assistant manager).

“Obviously it went past five (penalties) and then, to be fair, it’s anybody’s.

“We kind of know the lads who can take a good penalty and we have a few characters who always back themselves with a penalty.”