Garstang FC 0 Pilkington 8: Keeper crisis makes it a night to forget for the Riversiders

Will Kitchen was a key absentee for Garstang when they faced Pilkington last week
Will Kitchen was a key absentee for Garstang when they faced Pilkington last week

Garstang were beaten 8-0 by Pilkington in midweek on a terrible night when everything conspired against them.

Already missing keeper Will Kitchen, Riversiders’ boss Richard Cookney saw neither back-up keeper able to play with the result that Marc Armstrong went in goal at 45 minutes’ notice.

The kick-off had been delayed because of the motorway conditions, and when play got underway, the home side should have been awarded a penalty when debutant Gary Basterfield was clearly tripped in the box after just 25 seconds.

To everyone’s astonishment, the referee waved away the vociferous appeals for a penalty.

The start was very even but the deadlock was broken on eight minutes when a free-kick was hit into the Garstang box and Armstrong was unable to come out and collect.

Ben Maddocks nipped in and steered the ball past him into the far corner.

Things got worse when Armstrong tore his calf muscle in making a save, and for the rest of the half, he played with a noticeable limp which hindered his movement and clearances.

The lead was extended on 24 minutes when Armstrong made a great fingertip save at full stretch but Luke Sephton reacted quicker to turn the rebound in.

Garstang had their fair share of chances and both Alan Coar and Alex Hay could have scored on another day with two clear chances from close range.

However, the visitors were looking dangerous with every attack and their pace was causing the home side’s defence issues as they continued to get behind the defensive line at will.

Maddocks scored from a corner on 28 minutes and then to make matters worse, Joe Melling stopped a goalbound effort with his hand and was sent off by the referee.

The resulting penalty was smashed home as the home side trailed 4-0 at half-time and had 10 men.

Armstrong was unable to continue so Cookney was forced to ask Ric Coar to play the whole second half in goal.

Pilkington exploited the goalkeeping and 10-man situation remarkably well and every effort seemed to go in.

Matty Taylor scored just before the hour, while Philip Marsh netted the sixth three minutes later.

Callum Laird made it 7-0 with 14 minutes left before Marcus Giglio completed the scoring a minute later.

Garstang have confirmed the date for their PlayerMatch.com Cup tie with FC Oswestry Town.

It will be replayed at the Riverside this Saturday with a 3pm kick-off.

Last weekend’s original tie was abandoned after Oswestry’s Callum Leigh sustained a broken leg.

Spectators who paid for the original game will have free admission.