Liversedge 2 Garforth 2
Mighty Miners earn a great away point.
A brace from Lee Turner twice gave Town the lead, only to be pegged back by the hosts in a cracking game in front of a large crowd.
Rob Hunter's team - sporting our new 'Garforth Miners green' away kit - started the match on the front foot, with their pressing unsettling Liversedge at the back. A goalmouth scramble from Mitch Hamilton's corner ten mins in, saw a Calum Ward effort cleared off the line, before Luke Mccrum headed wide Daniel Coupland's delivery. On 16 mins Town gave themselves a deserved lead when Ward pounced on a loose ball and put through Turner to score with a smart finish off the far post. The hosts' first real chance arrived ten minutes later when Steve Wales' corner was delivered into a sea of players; Roy Fogarty's backheel cleared off the line.
It was a frustrating evening for Turner's strike partner Ward who came agonisingly close a number of times throughout the evening. One of which came on 29 mins when he put a low strike across the far post after the ball was headed straight to him by a defender. Luke Kitson had a 20-yard free-kick saved by home keeper James Waggett on 36 mins and moments later there another crucial clearance by a Town defender in the six-yard box to deny Fogarty after Wales's low shot was saved by Peter Lawrie. Fogarty was in on the chances again three minutes before the break when finding space in the area, but could only shoot wide.
Turner almost made it 2-0 on 47 mins when a free-kick was headed out to him, his low effort deflected past the far post. After that followed a good spell for the hosts who immediately found an equaliser. A swift break forward ended in Devonte Morton putting clear Fogarty who beat Lawrie with a great finish into the bottom corner.
In a half with a real ebb and flow, midfielder Aiden Kearsley was unlucky not to open his Garforth account on 55 mins; his strike going inches wide of the far post after James Beaston's long throw-in was cleared. Sam Leach did well to supply Ward moments later but the striker's shot was deflected over the bar, the result bizarrely a goal kick. Good play by Hamilton saw him pick out Turner who was denied at the near post by Waggett. A good spell for the Miners ended in the a-'ward' of penalty (I'll get my coat) when another break saw the striker brought down in the box by Waggett. Man of the moment Turner stepped up and coolly sent the keeper the wrong way to give us the lead once more. A seventh goal for the striker to already eclipse his total for last season. He came agonizingly close to a hattrick only seconds later with a close-range header just over the bar after Ward pounced on a lapse at the back.
Our hosts responded by throwing men forward in search of an equaliser, resulting in some nervy moments in the last 20 or so minutes. Towering striker Morton shot across goal and wide when played in by Fogarty on 70 mins. There was however one more chance for The Miners for a two-goal cushion when Hamilton did brilliantly along the byeline to supply Ward who's header was cleared off the line. The hosts' equalizer came on 78 mins, although - given the recent introduction of additional forwards - probably not from the source they expected. Defender Aaron Fell picked up a loose ball 25 yards out and fired an unstoppable volley into the net. Substitute Joe Walton (who scored a hattrick here last season) came close twice around the 80-min mark, putting a downward header inches wide, then hooking over the bar from close range. The hosts couldn't make the most of their late chances however, as a stout and determined Miners hung on for a point. A final chance came to captain Tom Jackson who's header from Fogarty's corner just cleared the bar.
After last season's hammering all three points here would've been very sweet indeed, but the Town players can be proud of their part in an excellent advert for NCEL football. Rob Hunter's team hit the road again on Saturday when we visit Staveley MW (kick-off 3pm).