St Helens Town 1 Garstang FC 3: Saturday night success for the Riversiders
Garstang moved up to eighth place in the Hallmark Security League First Division North after a 3-1 win at St Helens Town on Saturday night.
It was the Riversiders’ first trip to The Arcoframe Stadium with a crowd of 292 attending.
The Riversiders were without Alan Coar and Jake Salisbury but, otherwise, their squad was intact.
Garstang started quite brightly, zipping the ball around confidently, so it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 12th minute.
The lively Dan Birch got free down the right wing and his cross found Ric Coar, who had got in front of his marker and he guided the ball home to open the scoring.
Unfortunately that was as good as it got for the away side as they took their foot off the gas and sloppy, ponderous passing allowed Town to get a foothold on the game.
It was the home side who looked the most likely to score the next goal as an offside flag denied them on 21 minutes before a defensive misunderstanding ended with Will Kitchen tipping over Liam Diggle’s shot.
Garstang’s only effort in the rest of the half was a forgettable free-kick from Tom Entwisle as they were grateful for Phil Nagy’s goalline clearance just before half-time to preserve their lead.
The second half began with St Helens pouring forward straight from the kick-off.
Diggle had a chance which the advancing Kitchen gratefully grabbed before the lively Neil Weaver got to the line and sent over a cross which should have been converted.
Birch had to block Weaver’s shot but the pressure told when the resulting corner was touched in by Diggle for a deserved equaliser.
Garstang were now under pressure but managed to settle down and prevent any more clear-cut chances.
On 58 minutes, Lee Baker made two changes by replacing Jack Bennett and Jack Swindlehurst with Tom Graham and Josh Westwood.
The changes had an immediate effect as, two minutes later, Shaun Sailor ran at the heart of the Town defence and weaved past three defenders before smashing a shot high into the net for a brilliant individual goal.
This goal took the wind out of the home side’s sails and Garstang took control of the game.
Graham went close when his free-kick was kicked off the line at the far post but, on 74 minutes, Billy McKenna, who had just replaced Entwisle, cut into the box and was hacked down for a penalty.
Jonny Hothersall stepped up, and although he will take better ones, his shot squirmed under Carl Williams and it was 3-1.
St Helens pushed forward to try to get back in the game but Garstang were now in complete control.
They could have added to their tally when Birch burst into the area and shot just over before Coar twisted, turned and saw his shot come back off the keeper’s legs.