Depleted Town suffer defeat
Garforth's winless run stretched to five games as a goal in each half saw visitors Bottesford complete the double.
Midfielder Matthew Robertshaw was given a rare start to partner fellow midfielder Jack McMurrough at centre-back, allowing Dan Coupland to move into midfield to replace an unavailable Niah Payne. Aodhan Brownlee was given his first start for the club, replacing Lee Turner who's away. Raul Fletcher and Helmo Silva were among the substitutes, making the step up from our Development Team.
In a slow start to the game, the first chance fell to Bottesford's Tom Spall on 19 mins who's effort went just wide of the post. Moments later Stephen Weatherill claimed at the second attempt a powerful drive from Wayne Graves with Ben Johnson bearing down on him.
Whilst there wasn't much between the two sides, Garforth struggled to find their front men and were often outmuscled by an experienced Poachers defence. Our best chance of the game arrived on 21 mins when a decent ball forward from Dan Coupland put through Mark Simpson who forced a save from Poachers keeper Ashley Ellis at the near post. Another chance for the striker came two minutes later; his turn and shot just outside the box curled just wide. Coupland had a go himself shortly after that with a strike just clearing the crossbar. On 32 mins however The Miners went behind when Aiden Kearsley's unfortunate slip just outside the area let in Declan Bacon who beat Weatherill with a low strike. His teammate Jack Bowskin will have been disappointed not to make it two when he ran unchallenged down the right wing but could only lash into the side netting. A couple of set-pieces gave Town problems as half time approached; Weatherill punched off the line Jack Cross's free-kick, before a corner kick from the same opponent flashed across the goalmouth with nobody in luminous green to convert.
There was an almighty scramble on 51 mins when Weatherill made a stop from Graves, then from another Bottesford player before the ball was finally cleared. Tricky substitute Alex Holden came close after jinking his way in from the right and seeing a shot deflected wide for a corner.
The introduction of Calum Ward at half time injected some much needed presence up front, but in the end it was a quiet afternoon for Ellis in the Bottesford goal. Simpson shot wide from a narrow angle when set up by Ward on 54 mins, before Ward himself raced clear with only Holden to beat but was ruled offside. Down the other end, Bradley Hockin's drive from a corner was cleared in the six-yard box on 86 mins. Town's injury problems worsened on 87 mins when Jack McMurrough went down and was forced to hobble off the field and, with all three substitutes used up, we were forced to see out the match with ten men.
Our visitors left it late to seal the points, but they finally did so in injury time when Town gave the ball away in midfield to Hockin who spotted Weatherill off his line and chipped him from 35 yards to make it 2-0.
Two away matches up next for Rob Hunter's team, starting with a visit to Hall Road Rangers on Thursday 12th April (kick-off 7:45pm).