Garforth 0 Pickering Town 1
Ref and tumble....
The Miners suffered their first home defeat of the season in a tough physical battle where Ryan Blott's 33rd minute strike for the visitors proved the difference.
The first good chance fell to Pickering six minutes in when Pete Lawrie diverted Russ Parker's effort over the bar after he cut inside from the right. A decent through-ball for Calum Ward three mins later saw the striker one-on-one with Pikes goalkeeper Harry Andrews, but he was dubiously called offside. A Town team without unavailable playmaker Mitch Hamilton were stringing some good moves together against organised and physically strong opposition, but thus far were without an en end product. A 20-yard strike by Lee Turner was kept out of the bottom corner by Andrews on 19 mins, then down the other end Ryan Donoghue denied Parker in the 18-yard box with a superb sliding challenge. Turner forced another stop from Andrews with half an hour on the clock when he got clear, but Town were made to rue their missed chances when the visitors took the lead with a well-taken goal. George Bissett made his way down the left and passed inside to Ryan Blott who turned and finished emphatically into the roof of the net. After that is was Pickering who looked likely to add to their lead; five mins later Nick Thompson forced a near-post save from Lawrie after a foray through the Town defence.
Aiden Kearsley almost grabbed an equaliser when picked out by Daniel Coupland just after the break when his sliding shot was turned wide by Andrews, but in any case the offside flag had been raised. Rob Hunter had already been taken to one side by referee Edward Duckworth after protesting a couple of decisions that had gone against us, but there was more controversy to follow. Ward was dubiously booked when him and a opposing player challenged for the ball in midfield, before Thompson was shown only a yellow for a late lunge on Kearsley. His teammate Tilsley was too only given a caution after pushing Ward to the floor when the latter won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Just before that, Lewis Taylor had forced a good low save from Lawrie when given space on the left.
Ward came agonisingly close to a 69th minute leveller when he received a ball over the top and lobbed the onrushing Andrews, but it went inches wide of the post. Lawrie spared substitute Matt Robertshaw's blushes when the Pikes were let in by a poor back-pass; punching clear Eddie Birch's drive from just outside the box.
A determined Town persevered, but sadly there was to be no reward for our efforts. Deep into injury time Kearsley went close again with a 25-yard effort which went just wide. The midfielder's display was one positive to take from a game in which Rob Hunter's team ultimately fell short.
Garforth are next in action on Tuesday here at the Supply Chain Network Stadium when we entertain Maltby Main (kick-off 7:45pm).