Garstang FC have been tested at both ends of the pitch this season

Garstang have been one of the division's great entertainers this season
Garstang have been one of the division's great entertainers this season

Garstang boss Lee Baker admits this season’s Hallmark Security League has been a test of his footballing ideals.

The Riversiders made the move up from the West Lancashire League and have acquitted themselves well so far.

Last Saturday’s postponed game against Avro means the Riversiders are eighth in the First Division North with a dozen matches of their 38-game season remaining.

That lofty league position comes despite a defensive record which has seen Baker’s players concede an average of almost two goals a game with 50 scored against them in 26 matches – which is still the division’s seventh best defensive record.

Going the other way, they have netted on 61 occasions, a pattern repeated throughout the division as other teams are seemingly scoring and conceding with abandon.

Leaders Longridge Town have led the way by scoring 106 goals in 27 matches with Lower Breck (81), Avro (80), Chadderton (70), AFC Liverpool (65) and Bacup Borough (63) the other sides to have found the net more often than Garstang.

“There are a lot of attacking teams in the division this year,” Baker acknowledged.

“I think there might have been a change of mentality this year as people like to get the ball down and play.

“I’ll be honest, I do like to keep clean sheets but it’s been difficult in such a high-scoring league when a lot of the teams seem to be scoring two or three goals a game.”

Saturday sees Baker’s players due to be in action for the first time a fortnight when they travel to Avro in the last eight of the Division One Cup.

They should have met the same team in the league at the Riverside last Saturday, only for the freezing temperatures to see the match called off.

It was the second game in four days to be postponed, following on from the home match with Lower Breck.

That has been rearranged for Wednesday, February 13 (7.45pm).