Div 2 Springfields 4 (1)
Garstang 2 (3)
Garstang seconds, with a squad reduced by injury and availability, started brightly against Springfield fourths who were out to avenge a narrow defeat in October.
A couple of penalty corners were ably dealt with by Springs before an attempted reverse stick shot from newcomer Becky Worthington was deflected in by Olivia Mason, putting Garstang ahead.
Springs rallied, sending a series of hard hit crosses into Garstang’s circle from the right, but good marking from Ellie Harrison kept pressure on the target player, who was unable to convert them into shots.
With about 20 minutes played Garstang’s injury woes increased as an unfortunate deflection caught Gemma Livesey full in the mouth and she was hustled off to A&E. Garstang regrouped, with Becky Worthington pulled into midfield from her forward role. A purposeful run across the top of the circle and pass just wide of the far post found Olivia Mason on hand to make sure it went into the goal, 2-0 at half time.
Second half opened with Springs pressing to get back into the game and caused a few anxious moments for Garstang. Then an opening down the left gave Becky a chance to set up an almost carbon copy of the second goal and Olivia Mason claimed her hat-trick.
Garstang kept up the momentum and were looking for a fourth before Wendy Howarth received a 5 minute ‘rest’ for too much backchat to an umpire, but even this didn’t unsettle them and they continued maintain possession and move the ball well across the midfield.
Springs pulled one back when a hard hit shot from just inside the circle went through a crowd of players to hit the net, past Garstang’s unsighted keeper. But with only 2 minutes to go it was too little too late and it finished 3-1 with a well deserved win for Garstang. Meanwhile in Division Three Garstang thirds played Blackpool thirds who had defeated them 4-0 earlier in the season.
Garstang showed evidence of their continuing improvement with a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of 2nd placed Blackpool 3 and the welcome inclusion of two more experienced players, Louise Robinson & Louise Shaw provided some much needed structure to the enthusiastic but very inexperienced juniors that make up the bulk of the squad. Although Blackpool deserved the win, Garstang produced several well constructed attacks and put in a good performance. This has been a tough season for the large squad of very young new players, many playing full 11-a-side games for the first time, and it’s great to see their persistence and enthusiasm starting to pay off.