GARSTANG picked up a morale-boosting point away at Euxton as they look to climb away from the foot of the league table.
Richard Thomas’ squad was down to the bare bones for this difficult trip to a side lying comfortably in mid-table, and the Garstang boss was forced into the emergency signing of 18-year-old Nick Stutely and introduced youth team player Jack Swindlehurst, who took up a place on the bench.
Garstang could have been a goal down in the first minute when Johnstone turned Collins in the box before shooting narrowly wide.
The following 20 minutes belonged to Garstang as they began to settle, Stone, twice, Chapman and West all going close before Garstang were caught on the break, when Hogg shot straight at Howell in the 24th minute.
A good ball by new boy Stutely found Preston on the left, fortunately for Euxton his cross-cum-shot came back off the bar to safety.
Euxton winger Cooper talked his way into the referee’s notebook before a free-kick from the same player eluded everyone in the Garstang box and out for a goal kick.
West was booked for a late challenge, then in the 43rd minute Cooper received a second yellow and his marching orders for a late tackle on West, as the home side were reduced to 10 men.
Garstang were stunned six minutes into the second half, however, when Bolton made it to the by-line, pulling the ball back for Plano to slot home to give Euxton the lead.
Young Swindlehurst came on to make his first team debut for the injured Chapman, as Garstang looked to bounce back, but it was the 10 men of Euxton who threatened again, as Howell had to be at his best to save from Heald in a spell of pressure from the home side.
In a team reshuffle, Bardsley went on for Kelsall, and Jack was moved up front.
And it almost paid immediate dividends as Jack found space, but had more time than he thought when he headed wide a perfect cross from Collins.
Garstang deservedly forced the equaliser, with less than five minutes to go, when West’s finely executed volley struck the post and came out, Stone being the quickest to react, stabbing the ball back into the net.
Then there was controversy and a heart-in-the-mouth moment in the dying seconds as Squirrell conceded a free-kick on the edge of his own box, the resulting free-kick causing mayhem in the Garstang penalty area as the ball came back off the bar with the Euxton players claiming that the ball had crossed the line.
Thankfully, Garstang survived, and got the point they richly deserved.
GARSTANG: Howell, Collins, Squirrell, West, Leigh, Stutely, Chapman (rep. Swindlehurst 51 mins.) Jack, Kelsall (rep. Bardsley 60 mins.) Stone, Preston Unused sub: Adjei
n ON Saturday, October 15, Garstang have a difficult away trip to Vickerstown who play on Walney Island, Barrow.