Maltby Main 1-1 Garforth Town
Garforth gained a hard-earned point against Maltby Main in a competitive clash between two sides with serious top half ambitions
Report by Samuel Bannister
Both sides came off the pitch proud of their performances, in what was a close battle of physicality and ability that could have gone either way.
The first half was a little bit scrappy, although it did start in a positive manner for Garforth, with Niah Payne getting a shot away inside the first minute after Aodhan Brownlee’s cross-field pass.
Around 15 minutes in, Toby Wells was called into action for the first time. Alex Low gave a free kick away for holding, and Maltby striker Ross Duggan stepped up to take it. His powerful shot was tipped wide by the impressive Garforth keeper.
Shaquille Clarke-Adams had a chance at the other end after skilfully cutting in from the right-hand side, as his left-footed shot was saved.
Wells made an outstanding save 10 minutes before the break. The ball was chipped to Maltby’s Joshua Nodder, who connected cleanly with a left-footed volley. However, a strong left hand from Wells ensured the ball went away from danger.
Two minutes later, there was an incredible chance for Maltby which somehow stayed out. Centre-backs Low and Declan Greene, playing together for the first time, went to head the same ball but neither got it, leaving Duggan one-on-one with Sean Keyes. He cut inside after beating the makeshift right-back, but his shot hit both posts before being claimed by Wells. It was the closest either side had come to scoring and there were more than a few relieved Garforth faces as the ball somehow stayed out.
Wells prevented Maltby from scoring again when he palmed away another shot from Duggan, with the defenders then able to clear the ball.
The second half also started brightly for Garforth, and they won a penalty after a defender was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area. Despite Maltby’s protests that it was outside the box, a spot kick was awarded and Mark Simpson readied himself to take it. It was a cool finish from the striker as he sent the keeper the wrong way and sidefooted the ball into the bottom right corner.
Moments later, Simpson was involved again after a through ball from Clarke-Adams. The striker fired the ball across goal, but the keeper just managed to disrupt Devonte Morton’s attempts to latch onto it.
Just before the hour mark, Maltby were level, with another contentious goal. A corner came in from the right, and Jonathan Hill rose highest to head it across goal. Brownlee headed it away off the line, but the linesman deemed the ball to have crossed the line first, making it 1-1.
Garforth quickly looked to regain their lead, with James Beaston having a powerful shot saved and Low hitting the crossbar from the resulting corner. However, the defender was flagged offside anyway.
Town had claims for another penalty when Simpson was brought down just after shooting, following a run down the left wing. The referee was unmoved though and play continued.
Another chance came when Low’s long free kick forward was headed on by Simpson, landing at Morton’s feet. However, the striker didn’t have much time to set his body, and ended up shooting over the bar.
Maltby were also putting pressure on, and had a chance when substitute Sam Forster volleyed over after a corner.
As the game entered injury time, Garforth gave one last push for the winner, with Payne breaking into the box and a goalmouth scramble ensuing. Play broke down and Payne put a cross in for Morton, but it was slightly too high for the attacker to connect cleanly.
The final whistle blew and both sides knew they’d put in a good shift. Prior to the match, Maltby had won five of their eight games at home this season, so a draw is definitely not a bad result for Garforth, who are now four games unbeaten in all competitions.