Garstang 1, Euxton Villa 1
Garstang deservedly took a share of the points, equalising in the fourth minute of stoppage time in a very absorbing first game in five weeks.
Manager, Darley gave a first start to Byrom Andrews with a place going on the bench for second new signing Anthony Melton. Adam Roskell replaced the unavailable Alex Klas.
Garstang made the brighter start. Roskell waltzed his way into the visitors box but was denied a shot by a last ditch tackle then Wood headed wide a perfect cross from new boy, Andrew.
It wasn’t all Garstang, two half chances falling to Hogg then skipper Wilson did well to get in the way of a goal bound effort by Lilley.
Euxton took the lead in the 24th minute when a Dunn strike was deflected into the path of Lilley who made no mistake from close range.
Undeterred, Garstang’s high work rate kept Euxton on their toes with Richard Wilson and Chris Bullock providing the energy in midfield.
A Roskell strike was blocked in the 32nd minute before the first yellow of the afternoon was issued to Woodruff for a late challenge.
Garstang keeper, Howell had to be at his best to prevent a Johnson free kick giving Euxton a two goal lead just before the break.
The second half in the main belonged to Garstang with chances a plenty falling to Wood, Andrew, Bullock and some good distance strikes from Richard Wilson, Pickles and an Ireland free kick.
The Euxton strike force did continue to pose a threat, Howell touching one Hogg shot on to the crossbar then Lilley shot wide following a quick break by the visitors.
Heald and Whittaker earned yellow cards and Pickles for Garstang as the tension built up.
Manager Stuart Darley was forced into his first change with 18 minutes to go when Pinnington limped off to be replaced by Mattichecia then with only 14 minutes left he through on Stuart and Melton for Wood and Roskell.
But it was a last throw of the dice that salvaged a priceless point when club warhorse Geoff Wilson was ordered up front with the minutes ticking away. Howell punted a last ditch kick down field, the Euxton defenders didn’t anticipate the bounce, but Wilson did before unleashing an unstoppable drive past the helpless keeper before going on a run of celebration in front of the appreciative home supporters.
A sign that the good times are on the way back for a rejuvenated Garstang team under the stewardship of Messrs Darley and Johnson.
GARSTANG TEAM: Howell, Pickles, Ireland, Woodruff, G. Wilson, R.Wilson, Roskell (rep. Melton 76 mins.) Bullock, Andrew, Wood (rep. Stuart 76 mins.) Pennington (rep. Mattichecia 72 mins.) UNUSED SUB: Curwen.
* Next game at the Riverside will see Garstang Reserves take on Euxton Villa reserves this Saturday, January 15, kick-off at 2pm.