Garforth 2 Cleethorpes Town 3
Miners unlucky after late fightback.
Goals from Ryan Donoghue and Mark Simpson saw The Miners come within a whisker of taking a point from the league champions after trailing 3-0 at half time.
Sadly due to work commitments I can't report first hand on the first 35 minutes, but Cleethorpes took the lead on 17 mins when Marc Cooper's strike from the edge of the box found the top corner. Further chances followed for the visitors and they were awarded a penalty on 25 mins after a push in the box on Jack Richardson. Peter Winn stepped up and sent Paul Hagreen the wrong way to double the lead.
Luke Kitson stung the palms of Owls keeper Liam Higton on 36 mins, and moments later a Mitch Hamilton effort was cleared off the line by Kieran Wressell. Despite this, Cleethorpes made it 3-0 on 38 mins when Jonathan Oglesby's cross-cum-shot found its way past Hagreen into the far corner of the net.
Garforth heads hadn't gone down however and Mark Simpson should've got one back for Town either side of half time. The first chance came after Hamilton chased a seemingly lost cause down the left and delivered the ball into the striker who, after making space, could only force a low save from Higton. The second saw Simpson force Higton at almost point-blank range to tip his shot over the bar after more good play by Hamilton.
A couple of chances followed for the visitors; Tim Lowe's shot went just wide of the far post, before captain Alex Flett also fired wide of the target after Town were dispossessed on our right.
Turner replaced Turner on 55 mins, when Lee replaced James. The signing of the latter last month meant three players of that surname in the Garforth squad, and after Adam Turner replaced Vincent Dhesi nine mins later, we almost had all three on the pitch for the first time, disappointing Garforth Town trivia-lovers everywhere.
Matt Bloomer almost made it 4-0 on 72 mins when heading wide at the far post Oglesby's corner kick. Meanwhile the two Turners had given Town's attack a real shot in the arm, with Lee in particular giving the visitors problems down the right with his direct play. The Owls suffered a blow when one of their three substitutes Leigh Hutchinson was forced off injured, meaning his team were forced to see out the last ten minutes with a man down. Hopefully his Wembley appearance is still on.
The Miners took advantage and deservedly pulled a goal back on 84 mins. An excellent move saw Hamilton's cross headed home by Ryan Donoghue for his first club goal. Four minutes later we made things interesting when sub Sean Hunter played in Simpson to finish low into the bottom corner. Hunter was given a chance to complete an unlikely comeback in injury time when he was picked out by Simpson, but volleyed over the bar.
Such is the difference in finishing between 1st and 15th, and so it proved with the clinical visitors holding on for the win. Garforth can be proud of their second half performance however, which saw a much-improved attacking performance on recent weeks. More of the same on Saturday?