Match report: Garstang FC 2 Thormton Cleveleys 2

Two late goals saw Garstang fight back for a point against Thornton Cleveleys on Saturday
Two late goals saw Garstang fight back for a point against Thornton Cleveleys on Saturday

West Lancashire League

Home skipper Gary Fawcett was passed fit following a late fitness test before the game, while the only other change saw Alex Colquhoun replaced by Andrew Murphy.

Thornton were playing with a big target man up front, Mathew Wood, who was very effective at leading the line and unsettling the Garstang defensive unit.

A key aspect of their play was the speed of their counter-attacking football with Tom Graham left isolated at times.

One such counter-attack saw the deadlock broken and the game’s best goal when the ball was played quickly down the flank to Phil Smith who got behind Graham and whipped in a low cross.

Wood’s clever step over took out two Garstang players and the ball fell kindly to Joel Khambi who drilled his shot home from 15 yards.

Garstang pushed hard to level the scores when, following some good work by Dave Jack, Graham hit a shot which was parried to safety.

From the resulting corner, a half-clearance fell to Murphy just outside the box and his volley just went wide of the goal.

Thornton looked dangerous with every attacking move and won a corner in the 22nd minute.

From the corner there was a scramble and the ball fell kindly to Smith to bundle home a shot from close range and give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

This soon could have been three when Smith again got behind the Garstang defence and cut in from the left but his shot hit the far post.

Another attack saw Wood break down the left and hit a cross into the Garstang box but Stoney should have done better than shoot high and wide.

At the break, Garstang manager Lee Baker, made his first change, bringing on Colquhoun for Rick Coar, and also made some tactical adjustments with Jonny Hothersall pushed into a more advanced position.

It was a totally different Garstang performance to the first half with Thornton being pushed deeper and deeper.

Alan Coar played in Colquhoun, who beat his man and curled a shot just wide before Coar saw his goalbound effort brilliantly saved.

The deficit should have been reduced when Jack’s diagonal cross found Hothersall three yards out but his header was pushed onto the bar.

Coar sent two headers off target and had another shot deflected over as it looked as if Garstang were never going to score.

The Riverside faithful was rewarded and the deficit reduced, when Coar headed a Murphy corner goalwards.

His effort was blocked but the ball fell perfectly to Jack Swindlehurst, who shot home from close range. Garstang pressed for the equaliser; Graham’s shot was parried and Bevan could not react quickly enough to turn the rebound in, while Hothersall saw a shot cannon off the post.

The scores were brought level on 85 minutes when Bevan turned in a rebound from close range after Coar’s shot had been saved.

There was still time for Thornton’s Alex Trushall to collect a stupid red card for two yellow cards as they hung on for a point.