Lancaster and Morecambe (0) v Garstang (1)
First match following the Christmas break saw Garstang second team, currently second in Div 2, take on division leaders Lancaster and Morecambe seconds team in the Lishman Plate quarter finals, and out to avenge an early season 3-0 defeat. In windy conditions on Lancaster University’s astroturf some early control and passing errors from Garstang restricted their attacking opportunities and kept the bulk of the play in the midfield. Both teams struggled to create clear cut chances early on, with Lancaster and Morecambe pressure on the right side being ably dealt with by Ellie Moss and Georgie Hampson at left defence and sweeper. Garstang soon steadied and with several testing through balls started to ask questions of Lancaster and Morecambe’s defence and create chances of their own. Clearest chance fell to captain Helen Mather who squandered it by firing straight at the keeper.
In the second half Garstang stepped up the pace, moving the ball quickly around the pitch with fast, accurate passing. This created space for Ellie Harrison to drive forward from right defence with some great linkup play with Julie Nightingale and Wendy Howarth pressing from midfield. As the half went on Garstang started to dominate possession in mid field but couldn’t quite produce the necessary finish. With about 15 minutes to play thoughts of a penalty shoot out were beginning to surface, but a ball in from the right found Jemma Hampson in the circle. Showing skilful close control and patience she kept possession before laying it off for Wendy Howarth to fire home. Deadlock broken, 1-0 to Garstang.
Lancaster & Morecambe tried hard to break back but Garstang stayed calm and continued to use their passing game to exploit the spaces appearing in their opponents half and keep them under pressure. There was a late scare when a hard hit clearance from Lancaster and Morecambe’s defence looked to have set up a one-on-one with Garstang’s keeper. However Zoe Mather was alert to the danger and quickly out to beat the chasing attacker to the ball at the very edge of the circle, retaining Garstang’s one goal advantage to the final whistle.
A very competitive cup-tie played with great determination and attitude from both teams, possibly to be repeated next week when they meet again for a league fixture at Garstang’s home ground of Preston Arena. In the Lishman Plate semi-final on March 21 Garstang seconds will take on fellow Division 2 side Brookfields.