Ten men Town lose out
Mark Simpson scored a brace, but three mad minutes just before half time condemned his side to a first league defeat in four games.
Mark Trueman fired over the bar from 20 yards as Thackley enjoyed most of the early possession, but it was Garforth who opened the scoring on 6 mins when Lee Turner's cross found Mark Simpson who held off advancing goalkeeper Luke Wilson to sidefoot low into the net.
The hosts kept on creating chances; a Mike Garrod shot was parried by Peter Lawrie towards the safety of Town defenders at the back post, before Luke Robinson's header was cleared off the line with his side claiming the ball had crossed it. Lawrie saved at the near post to deny Jerome White's drive but the Dennyboys were level on 19 mins when Robinson's free-kick found an unmarked Garrod at the back post to head home. On 25 mins the tables were turned when a loose ball fell to Garrod 25 yards out who fired into the top corner to make it 2-1.
The home side looked to get the ball forward quickly as we've come to expect at Dennyfield, whilst Town looked to break using the pace of Simpson, Sean Hunter and Mitch Hamilton. From Hunter's cross, a Turner flick was punched away by Watson, and shortly after he denied Hunter with his feet when the young striker was put clear by a defender's back header. On 36 mins however, the scores were level once more. Simpson raced clear with Turner to his left and looked set to play him in, but he instead scuffed his shot past the onrushing Watson and into the net for his 23rd of the season.
At 2-2, Thackley remained a threat and the Town defence were forced into two last ditch clearances to deny Robinson, who'd made his way in from the left. An action-packed first half was to become even more eventful on 42 mins. Town were handed a golden opportunity to restore the lead when referee Andy Smith pointed to the spot after Paul Whiteley upended Simpson in the box. Turner stepped up, but his kick was too close to Watson who had guessed correctly to make the save. A disputed free-kick then saw Town go behind again, ex-Miner Lawrance Hunter delivering deep to Nicholas Matthews who glanced in. Matters were made worse by a moment of madness from Lawrie. After kicking the ball out of his hands in his 18-yard box he proceeded to kick an opponent in the back in a fit of rage. Referee Smith was given no choice but to award a penalty, and after Lawrie blasted the ball out of the ground, show him a red card. With second-choice keeper Steven Weatherill a couple of games away from a return, defender Luke Kitson donned the gloves and jersey. Sadly he couldn't prevent Garrod making it 4-2, the midfielder sending him the wrong way to complete his hat-trick.
Faced with a second half playing with ten men, Town supporters feared the worst at the break. However, no further goals followed in a much quieter second half. Rob Hunter's side showed spirit to avoid conceding against a side who, admittedly, looked content to sit on their lead. The closest they came to a fifth was on 54 mins when Mark Trueman's drive struck the underside of the bar and into the path of Robinson who could only smash wide. Some good spells of possession followed for The Miners, but they weren't able to test Watson in goal. Luke Mccrum shot narrowly wide at the near post from substitute Aodhan Brownlee's corner, before a Turner corner saw captain James Beaston's looping effort go just over the bar. It was a promising debut from Brownlee, as well as midfielder Niah Payne who harassed the home side high up the pitch. 4-2 was how it finished though, and we fell to a third defeat in as many seasons at this venue. A disappointing return to action for Garforth, but hopefully some improved performances (and weather?) can see us onto another unbeaten run.
Town return to the Supply Chain Network Stadium this Saturday when we host AFC Mansfield (kick-off 3pm).