Garstang FC record another FA Vase victory
Garstang FC progressed to the second round of the FA Vase following a penalty shootout win at Swallownest.
Manager Lee Baker and his players were accompanied to South Yorkshire by a fantastic away support to meet the North East Counties side.
Baker had to juggle his playing resources, being unable to call upon the services of Alan Coar, Jake Salisbury and Josh Westwood.
Facing a strong wind and a very bumpy surface, Garstang set up in a more traditional 4-4-2 with Ric Coar up front alongside Billy McKenna.
The game was barely a minute old when Garstang allowed the home side to shoot from 25 yards and their wind-assisted effort struck the top of the bar.
To everyone’s surprise, the referee awarded a corner which proved the catalyst for the home side taking the lead.
The corner was whipped in and deflected out for a throw, which ended with the ball crossed into the Garstang six-yard box and finished expertly on the volley by Juninho Blake to give Swallownest the lead.
The goal seemed to spur on the home side as, for the next 10 minutes or so, their forwards looked to get behind the defence at every opportunity.
After a while, the Garstang midfield started to exert a degree of control in the middle of the park.
The home side’s back four occasionally struggled to contain the physicality of Coar and the running of McKenna and Shaun Sailor and they started to commit some cynical fouls as a result.
Billy Akrigg went close when he hit a free-kick just wide of the post but the equaliser arrived on 31 minutes.
Coar was put through, and in a carbon copy of last week’s goal at Longridge Town, he calmly drew the keeper and fired home from 12 yards.
Swallownest had a couple of chances to get back into the lead but Garstang had to thank Will Kitchen for two excellent saves to keep the scores level at half-time.
The second half was more or less a repeat of the first with both sides going close, although Garstang had the better of the efforts and tested the home keeper on a number of occasions.
As the game progressed the referee continued to make some baffling decisions which impacted both sides.
Having reached extra time, the game burst into life when Tom Graham was the victim of a poor challenge which caused a melee and ended with a yellow card for the offender.
Two minutes later, Garstang substitute Jack Swindlehurst won the ball in midfield but the referee adjudged the tackle to be dangerous and gave him a straight red card.
It was 10 men apiece when a corner into the Garstang area saw Cameron Ross stamped upon and Swallownest saw red.
Both sides visibly tired as half-chances came and went before the match went to penalties.
As per the shootout win at Longridge Town a week earlier, a combination of good penalties and good goalkeeping proved to be the deciding factor as Garstang won the penalty shootout 4-3.
Only Tom Entwistle missed a penalty for Garstang, while Kitchen saved one spot-kick and saw another fired high over the bar as Garstang claimed victory.