Bullish Miners earn a point
Mark Simpson produced a 40-yard wonder goal as a gritty backs-to-the wall performance secured Town a draw against the league leaders.
Starts were given to Aiden Kearsley, Niah Payne and Matthew Savage with Jack "of all trades" McMurrough moving to centre-back in place of Luke Mccrum who started on the bench alongside Mitch Hamilton and Aodhan Brownlee.
The first chance of the game fell to Mansfield's Matthew Wilson who's powerful drive went just wide. Our top scorer Mark Simpson is well known for making chances out of nothing, but the epitome was surely reached on 8 mins when he pounced on a misplaced pass to chip stranded Bulls goalkeeper Jason White from all of 40 yards and hand us a surprise lead.
From then on it was a nervous affair for Garforth supporters as their side sat deep, and with Simpson a lonely presence up front, the visitors dominated. On 16 mins Oliver Fearon went down in the box amid appeals for a penalty, but instead the linesman ruled for offside. The Bulls were dangerous throughout from set-pieces including Liam Marsden's long throw-ins, and two minutes later captain Wilson's downward header from Phil Buxton's delivery was inches wide. After letting his teammates down on Tuesday, it was zero to hero for Peter Lawrie who made a number of tremendous saves to keep out the league leaders. The first came on 26 mins when he turned around the post a Fearon header, then shortly after denied a low shot from Buxton just outside the area.
There was a rare Town chance on 36 mins when a low strike from Lee Turner was deflected wide for a corner. The action was soon back at the the end of the field however seconds before the break, when Jack McMurrough produced a great block to keep out ex-Town defender Matt Plummer. Lawrie went down injured in the aftermath, but after receiving treatment was ok to continue.
The siege continued in the second half as Lawrie claimed a Wilson header on 56 mins, before blocking at almost point blank range from Fearon. On 61 mins The Bulls were awarded a penalty for an alleged shirt-pull on Fearon. The division's second top-scorer stepped up but Lawrie denied him with a brilliant save to keep it out of the far corner. The visitors did have the ball in the net on 67 mins when Connor Smythe headed in, but the 'goal' was disallowed for obstruction on Lawrie. An equalizer had been coming for nearly an hour now and it came via route one - a long ball forward was played to Fearon who got the better of his man and looped a header over Lawrie and into the net.
His teammate Smythe was unlucky not to complete the turnaround on 73 mins when heading against the post a cross from the left with Lawrie beaten. The Town stopper was in action again moments later to punch clear when a Marsden throw in to the box was flicked on. There were further chances for a late winner but it wasn't the Nottinghamshire side's day - Fearon blazed over the bar from Smythe's corner kick, Lawrie made a stop with his feet to deny Plummer's low strike, then finally a Plummer header from Jimmy Ghaichem's corner flashed wide of the far post.
The visitors will rue their missed chances as Rob Hunters' team rode their luck at times, but they can be proud of their battling display to upset another of the division's heavyweights. An Easter weekend double bill up next for The Miners who travel to Barton Town next Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and then Athersley Recreation two days later (a 1pm kick-off).