Garforth Town 1-0 Athersley Rec
Garforth battled to an ugly win to secure their first three points of the season (report by Samuel Bannister)
(photo - Curtly Martin-Wyatt (he's in there somewhere!) is mobbed after scoring an 85th minute winner)
A late strike from Curtly Martin-Wyatt meant Garforth beat Atherlsey Recreation 1-0 to claim our first victory of the NCEL season.
Last time the two sides met, on the final day of last season, Garforth were plagued by injuries, leading to a 6-1 loss, and although several players were out injured for this game as well, Town ensured they held on for the win.
First starts of the season were handed to Billy Lumsden, Curtly Martin-Wyatt, Helmo Silva and development team player Joe Colley, who impressed in midfield on his debut for the first team.
Garforth keeper Toby Wells was called into action early on, after Kieran Scargill’s cross from the left wing bounced awkwardly, forcing Wells to tip the ball over for a corner.
Another chance fell to Athersley’s Jamie Moxon, but he volleyed over.
Garforth’s first memorable chance came after 18 minutes, when Devonte Morton was played through by Martin-Wyatt. Morton ran down the right wing, but his eventual shot was blocked by the defender.
A few moments later, the ball came to Athersley’s Aiden Salmons, whose half volley from the centre of the penalty area went wide.
Morton went forward again, with a 25-yard shot from the left-hand side missing the target. Next, some good link up play between Silva, Lumsden and Martin-Wyatt led to a chance for the striker.
Another Martin-Wyatt effort went over the bar from the right side of the box, and the striker was involved yet again as he headed Albert Ibrahimi’s cross into the ground.
Garforth put some pressure on at the end of the first half, as play broke down after another Ibrahimi cross. Josh Robinson-Wilson volleyed the follow up, but it was blocked by a defender. The ball fell to Daniel Omosebi, who crossed for Martin-Wyatt, but the latter’s header went over.
Around five minutes into the second half, the ball dropped to Ibrahimi with Athersley goalkeeper Daniel Morton off his line, but the attacker’s shot wasn’t strong enough, and the keeper recovered by saving. For Town’s next chance, there was a long-range effort from Lumsden, but it missed.
Injuries then reared their ugly head again, as Robinson-Wilson was forced off, being replaced by Shaquille Clarke-Adams. However, Clarke-Adams only lasted 13 minutes before being substituted with injury as well, Aodhan Brownlee replacing him.
Athersley put more pressure on Town, with a ball over the top for substitute Emile Sinclair leading to a shot, but it was comfortably saved by Wells. The visitors had another chance shortly after, but the effort from the edge of the box went over.
At the other end, Martin-Wyatt had a shot from the left wing blocked.
Wells had to stay alert in the Garforth goal, preventing a shot from the left-hand side.
There was a half chance for Garforth as Ibrahimi picked up a clearance from Silva, then played a one-two with Morton, before the striker’s namesake in the Athersley goal raced out to intercept.
The breakthrough came in the 85th minute, as Brownlee played in an inviting cross deep into the box. Martin-Wyatt jumped the highest, sending the ball into the bottom corner with a cushioned header to give Town the advantage.
With Garforth’s backs against the wall, Martin-Wyatt won a header from deep, Ibrahimi latching onto it. Ibrahimi then played through Morton, but the striker’s shot was blocked.
Ibrahimi and Morton linked up again, perhaps less intentionally this time, as the former fired a shot across the goal. Morton then tried to divert it into the net, but it went wide.
Garforth had to work hard to hold onto the lead, but Athersley’s chances ran out as a Jack Briscoe cross in injury time evaded everyone.
It was a welcome victory for Garforth, however scrappy it was, which sees us rise to 13th in the table. The assistant referee’s comment that the game would have been last on Match of the Day couldn’t really be argued with. In the end though, they all count, and Town will just be pleased to have their first points of the season after decent performances in the previous two league games.