In front of another healthy Riverside crowd, Andy Payton’s Garstang side took on a strong team in the form of Steeton who had an excellent start to the season after beating AFC Blackpool away last Saturday.
Payton was able to welcome back Kitchen and Swindlehurst to the team and Tom Graham was also back in the starting eleven.
On a superb playing surface both teams looked very lively and the game ebbed and flowed from end to end.
After just five minutes there was an early setback for the Riversiders as the visitors took the lead.
A freekick was hit into the Garstang box and Cameron Ross deflected the ball into his own net whilst at full stretch trying to block the cross.
Garstang dusted themselves down and didn’t allow this early setback to impact them.
This was a much improved Garstang side from the previous outing and the home team started to put pressure on the Steeton defensive unit.
Both full backs Phil Nagy and Melling were making marauding runs down the flanks and the Coar’s were enjoying a much-improved service to the front whilst Jonny Hothersall was seeing a lot of the ball and linking up well with the front two.
Alan Coar had a great chance from a Pope cross and he also forced the home keeper into a smart save low down following a neat turn and shot.
There was some nice interplay between Pope, Hothersall and Melling as Garstang started to play themselves back into the match, but went into half time a goal down.
The home side took their momentum from the first half into the second and the home support didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser.
Pope hit a superb reverse ball into the path of Alan Coar who made a clever run across the line and as the keeper advanced Coar superbly beat him with a first-time effort into the corner of the goal.
Steeton’s defensive unit were starting to get frustrated with the running of the Coar’s and this frustration cost them another goal as the centre half threw Alan Coar to the ground in the inside left channel.
The excellent Nagy curled in to the box a superb freekick which was met by Ric Coar and he powered home a header to give Garstang a deserved goal.
Steeton tried to get back into the game but both Hancox and Ross were having very good games whilst Kitchen back in goal oozed confidence.
Graham and Swindlehurst were winning more of the ball in midfield, ably supported by substitute Mason as this growing dominance started to free up more space for the lively Roberts and Barrett to exploit a tiring Steeton defence.
As frustration grew the Steeton centre back Pearson lost his discipline as Swindlehurst was subjected to a terrible stamp on the chest whilst on the ground following a delay of the game being stopped for a head injury of a Steeton player.
This stamp was seen by the linesman and Pearson was deservedly shown a red card.
The game’s final goal saw Kitchen hit a 50-yard freekick into Alan Coar who laid the ball into Roberts down the left-hand side.
Roberts got to the line and hit a perfect low pinpoint ball into the path of Barrett who got in front of his marker and coolly slotted home from close range. There were no further incidents in the remaining passages of play as Garstang finished the match as deserved winners.