Another battling team performance gave Garstang a 3-1 victory against Fulwood Amateurs at the Riverside last Saturday.
The first decent weather of the year brought a crowd of more than 120 to watch a fixture which always produces plenty of action and quality football.
Chris Byrne was brought back into the Riversiders’ starting line-up as manager Lee Baker and his assistant, Neil Beesley, went for a 4-5-1 starting formation.
Garstang got off to the perfect start with only three minutes on the clock when Shaun Sailor ran at the Fulwood defence.
He tried his luck from 20 yards and saw his shot wrongfoot the Fulwood keeper on its way to finding the bottom corner of the net.
The visitors regrouped and every ball was fought for by two fully committed sides.
Fulwood’s Danny Parkinson picked up an early yellow for a late challenge on Garstang skipper Tom Entwistle but, on 14 minutes, the same player thought he had got Fulwood back on terms.
He broke free and lobbed the onrushing Dan Curwen for what looked like a certain goal but Dan Birch had other ideas and somehow got back to hook the ball away before it crossed the line to preserve Garstang’s lead.
Fulwood continued to have more possession but without creating any clear cut chances.
Instead, it was the home side who should have increased their lead when both Ric Coar and Entwistle had chances in quick succession which they were unable to convert.
Leading 1-0 at half-time, the Riversiders came out very positively in the early stages of the second half.
They thought they had scored when Ric Coar slotted home a rebound just two minutes in but the celebrations were cut short as the assistant’s flag ruled him to be offside.
However, he didn’t have to wait long as, just six minutes later, he was in the right place to slot home after Jake Salisbury’s shot had been parried by the Fulwood keeper.
Fulwood threw caution to the wind in an attempt to get back into the game, which was always going to leave them open to the counter attack.
Salisbury nearly increased the lead when he chipped the keeper but his shot was wide of the goal.
Alan Coar replaced his brother in a like for like swap but Garstang saw their advantage halved on 62 minutes.
A Garstang counter was intercepted and the ball was played into Amateurs’ star man Parkinson, who managed to squeeze his shot past Curwen and make it 2-1.
The visitors bombarded the Garstang defence but their well oiled defensive system meant they closed down their visitors quickly and the pressure could not be converted into chances.
At the other end, Alan Coar’s fresh legs were causing problems as he saw a cross tipped away and Jonny Hothersall was a whisker away from converting at the back post.
On 79 minutes Coar got away on the right edge of the box and his angled shot had goal written all over it, only for the ball to come back off the inside of the post.
He was not to be denied with five minutes left, however, as Garstang got their third goal.
A corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Jack Swindlehurst headed it back into the mix.
The ball found Coar’s chest and he brought it down onto his left foot before dispatching it into the net to restore the two-goal lead.
Fulwood still refused to lie down but their hopes of a late comeback were extinguished as the game ticked into added time.
Curwen denied them a second goal with a brilliant fingertip save to keep out a 20-yard effort which looked to be destined for the top corner.