Match report: Garstang FC 3 Tempest United 2

Garstang got the better of Tempest United in their Richardson Cup semi-final
Garstang got the better of Tempest United in their Richardson Cup semi-final
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Garstang reached this season’s Richardson Cup final after beating Tempest United 3-2 on Saturday.

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The West Lancashire League programme had been decimated by the wet weather but superb work by the staff at Euxton Villa saw this game survive a number of pitch inspections.

Manager Lee Baker had another strong squad to select from but kept faith with the starting XI that demolished Longridge Town the previous week in the league.

However, he saw them go a goal down after just 12 seconds when the defence failed to clear its lines.

The ball fell favourably to Luke Skelly just outside the Garstang six-yard box and he scored from close range despite Dan Curwen getting a hand to the ball.

The goal typified Garstang’s early endeavours which were somewhat lethargic and off the pace as Tempest looked very dangerous from a couple of successive corners.

However, after 15 minutes, Garstang started to find their feet with Shaun Sailor becoming more influential in the middle of the park.

The chances soon started to come Garstang’s way as Ric Coar went close with a header and the Tempest keeper had to be quick to intercept a number of good through balls.

An equaliser looked on the cards as the two Coar brothers combined superbly with a cross diverted the wrong side of the post by Jake Salisbury.

Tempest made a number of blocks and interceptions to keep Garstang at bay but the equaliser duly arrived in the 25th minute.

Tom Entwistle took possession of the ball midway down the right of the Tempest half, before hitting a pinpoint ball onto the head of Alan Coar, who outjumped his marker to head across the keeper and bring the scores level.

They were soon forced into a reshuffle as Dan Birch was withdrawn, which brought Tom Graham into the game at right-back.

Garstang were, nevertheless, firmly in the ascendancy, winning the ball back well up the pitch, and earning reward for their aggressive closing down.

Graham won a tackle in midfield with the ball breaking to Alan Coar, who laid the ball into Jonny Hothersall’s path, who calmly rounded the keeper and sidefooted home to give Garstang a deserved 2-1 lead.

The Riversiders continued to attack and scored again when Graham made a tremendous run down the right, beating his marker and hitting a superb cross to Ric Coar, who powered home his header at the far post.

The second half started as the first ended with Garstang on the attack.

Salisbury broke down the right and whipped in a low cross which Alan Coar met at full stretch after getting ahead of his marker but his shot went just wide of the post.

Tempest were rocking and Garstang should have put the game to bed when Salisbury got free down the inside-right channel and drew the keeper, only to shoot wide.

Ric Coar pulled a shot off target after being set up by a great piece of play from Hothersall before Alan Coar was one-on-one with the keeper but overran the ball.

The score could easily have been 5-1 at this stage but Garstang started to become sloppy with some poor decision-making which allowed Tempest back into proceedings.

Salisbury suffered an injury and was replaced by Matt Poole as Garstang started playing deeper and allowing Tempest to come on to them.

Tempest got back into the game when a free-kick was sent towards the Garstang goal with the ball deflecting off the top of Kieran O’Connor’s head and past Curwen.

Baker’s response was to replace Alan Coar with Chris Byrne as they looked to counter some of the Tempest attacks.

Tempest threw everything at Garstang and there were a few close scares, including Graham hacking the ball away just as a Tempest player looked certain to score.

Nevertheless, the excellent O’Connor and Josh Westwood held firm in the centre of defence and Garstang were able to close out the game.