Reserves stave off the Tempest title threat

Well done: Reserve team captain Andy Taylor presents James Gibbins with his Man of the Match award
Well done: Reserve team captain Andy Taylor presents James Gibbins with his Man of the Match award
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Tempest arrived at The Riverside knowing that a win would see them leapfrog over their hosts but it was Garstang who deservedly took the three points.

The game got off to a lively start with the home side going ahead on five minutes, Stuart flinging himself at an Ireland corner and the ball nestled in the back of the net.

The visitors responded and Curwen in the Garstang goal made a brilliant point blank save from a corner.

Garstang were defending well, with Baldwin and Miller solid in the centre, and looked very lively on the break nearly adding to their lead on 16 minutes when Gibbins, making his first start for the senior team, won a header in his own box which was collected by Stuart who sprinted to the half way line, played in Graham whose cross was inches away from the toe end of Roskell’s boot.

As half time beckoned Stuart broke clear but with just the keeper to beat he hit it straight at him and Tempest were grateful to go in only one down.

The second half began with Tempest seeing an early chance go just wide but after that the Garstang midfield dominated Ireland,Taylor and Roskell were relishing the physical challenge winning the ball and distributing it well, Kippax is looking better and better with each game and was unfortunate to slip at the crucial moment when it looked like he would add the second.

The hosts created several chances, Graham played in Stuart with a back heel but he hit the side netting and it was the unfortunate Stuart who couldn’t force the ball over the line as two more chances fell his way.

In between times Monson, the Tempest striker, was lucky to stay on the field when his frustration at Baldwin having him in his pocket led to him kicking out off the ball which was seen by the referee but he got away with a yellow.

As the game went on the spectators were beginning to wonder if the missed chances would come back to haunt Garstang but two goals in two minutes put the nerves to bed.

The first came on 64 minutes when Dan Sutcliff, who was having an assured game at left back, made a great overlap, drove in a cross, which was cleared back out to him, he steadied himself before putting it back in the box and after a scramble Graham popped up to score from close range.

Two minutes later Garstang scored an absolute cracker when Taylor played the ball over the defence to Graham on the right edge of the box and as the ball bounced up he hit an unstoppable cross shot into the far corner. Kippax and Stuart were replaced by the fresh legs of Panepinto and Swindlehurst and with five minutes to go a familiar face in Dave Porter came on for a cameo appearance.

Tempest gave themselves a glimmer of hope on 86 minutes when Miller brought down Monson in the box and although Curwen made a great save from the penalty Monson followed up to score.

This brought a mini revival and Garstang had to be on their mettle to defend a couple of corners but after that they saw out the final few minutes comfortably.

Man of the Match: James Gibbins

Team: D Curwen, J Gibbins, D Sutcliff, J Miller, A Ireland, J Baldwin, T Graham, A Taylor, B Stuart, M Kippax, A Roskell.

Subs: J Swindlehurst (for Kippax 73) O Panepinto (for Stuart 77) D Porter (for Ireland 85)