Penistone Church 3 Garforth 2
Second half Church reformation is too late for salvation....
A Mark Simpson and Jack McMurrough-inspired fightback sadly proved in vain as Garforth suffered a fourth consecutive defeat on the road.
The hosts had a glorious chance to take the lead as early as 7 mins when James Young's corner kick was headed down to Andy Ring who blazed over the bar from 5 yards. Down the other end there was one for Mark Simpson moments later when he got clear but his attempted chip over stranded Church keeper Adam Rhodes lacked power, allowing him to recover.
Disappointingly there was to be no end to the theme of goals conceded from corners when, on 14 mins, towering captain Brett Lovell headed home at the back post Young's corner to open the scoring. Pacey forward Nathan Keightley was a handful all afternoon, and almost made it 2-0 on 19 mins when making a dangerous run through the middle and putting a low shot just wide of the far post. In a half of few chances for The Miners a second arrived two minutes later when a Sean Hunter strike on the edge of the box was turned wide by Rhodes after Calum Ward's free-kick was blocked. Mitch Hamilton was then denied by Rhodes at the near post after making a teasing run in from the left. Town almost conceded again from a corner on 32 mins when Ash Ellis fired just over the bar at the back post. The hosts did make it 2-0 however on 35 mins when Kieran Ryan was picked out by a low cross and scored with a shot that Steven Weatherill got a hand to but couldn't keep out. Doug Richards nearly grabbed a third just before the break after a good move from the left, but smashed over the bar from just outside the box.
After enjoying most of the chances first half, Penistone turned the screw up until around the hour mark, and will be disappointed not to have made things embarrassing for us. Ring shot just wide of the far post after latching onto a back header, but soon after a third arrived when Keightley received the ball in the box with his back to goal, turned his man and slotted home. His teammate Elliott Firth was unlucky not to add a fourth on 52 mins when his 20-yard effort cannoned off the crossbar.
Ross Shelton made his return to the field on 66 mins and, with a formation change and a calm head in the middle of the park, Town were much improved. A good move on 71 mins ended in Town pulling one back when Simpson was put through by Dan Coupland to coolly round Rhodes and finish low into the back of the net. A goal in a fourth consecutive game for the striker and one-off levelling Lee Turner's total of 12. Fellow striker Hunter almost grabbed a consecutive goal of his own on 79 mins when his low volley was denied by Rhodes.
Before Town's goal, home supporters had been willing their team on to a rout, but on 84 mins there was another well-taken goal to suddenly make things interesting for those in yellow and blue. Midfielder Jack McMurrough made it 3-2 when firing home off the underside of the crossbar for a first goal since return from injury. Sadly it proved too little too late, and with no further openings for Garforth the home side instead charged forward to try and restore their comfortable lead. A deep cross to the back post was almost put into his own net by a sliding Ryan Donoghue (?), before the paint on the crossbar was disturbed again by Elllis' looping 25-yard strike.
With no midweek games over the next few weeks, assistant Mark Smitheringdale has a much-needed chance to get his team on to the training pitch to tighten things up at the back and halt the current slide. Our next match sees a return to the Supply Chain Network Stadium on Saturday 9th December when Liversedge are the visitors (kick-off 3pm).