Garstang frustrated as chances go begging

Gardner's first shot is blocked by the keeper, but he slotted in the rebound to give Garstang the lead
Gardner's first shot is blocked by the keeper, but he slotted in the rebound to give Garstang the lead
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Garstang 1, Fulwood Amateurs 1

INJURIES and unavailability had forced Garstang manager Michael Stringfellow into four changes to his starting line up. New signings Draycott and Clark were included along with a return for Stone and the surprise inclusion of Assistant Manager Iain Swan at centre back.

Garstang took the lead following a very high tempo start by the home team. It was a clinical through ball by Anderson that set up the chance for Gardner, his first shot coming back off the keeper to the striker who curled his second effort in to the corner of the net.

Two minutes later, in the 14th minute Garstang had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down when a Clark shot appeared to strike a defenders arm.

A Draycott free kick was palmed away by the visitor’s keeper, Thomas.

Fulwood started to dominate the midfield without ever breaching a resolute Garstang defence the biggest threat coming from set pieces and throw ins. Fulwood’s best chance of the first half came in the 37th minute when Phillips headed a perfect cross from Slater, wide of the goal.

Draycott caught Weight in possession and set up another opportunity for Gardner but the Garstang striker couldn’t get his shot away quick enough and Thomas saved at his feet.

Garstang were under pressure in the early stages of the second half. Draycott attracted a yellow card for a late challenge as the home team looked more and more nervous.

Despite this period of Fulwood dominance Garstang still created the better chances Anderson was the provider again for Gardner but the strikers shot was saved then Squirrell was unlucky as he watched his header go back across the Fulwood goal from a Draycott free kick.

Squirrell was then busy in his own goalmouth heading out a goal bound free kick by Slater, protecting Garstang’s fragile lead.

J Newsome replaced Clegg for Fulwood and the returned Bryson replaced the injured Anderson for Garstang in the 68th minute.

Squirrell was booked for a foul on Wright before Fulwood’s eventual equaliser in the 77th minute. For the first time in the match Clifton wasn’t able to deal with the in swinging corner from Slater and the experienced Wright was on hand to head home.

It was a bitter blow for Garstang in their fight for survival and again must count the cost of not being able to take their chances when they came along.

GARSTANG: Clifton, Squirrell, Preston, Stringfellow, Swan, Buczynski, Stone, Draycott, Gardner, Clark, Anderson. SUBSTITUTES: Swan, Mensah (rep.Draycott 80 mins.) Crossley, Bamba (rep. Gardner 88 mins.) Bryson (rep. Anderson 68 mins.)

* The game was sponsored by CITROSOFT LTD. who chose Jamie Preston as their Man of the Match

* ON Saturday, March 24, Garstang Reserves are at hoem to BAC while the first team are away to Burnley Utd.