Bottesford 1-0 Garforth Town
A penalty was all that separated the two sides in a physical encounter, but in reality, there was a huge difference in quality between Bottesford and Garforth on Saturday afternoon (report by Samuel Bannister)
The home side beat Garforth 1-0 to end the Miners’ three-game unbeaten run in league action.
Things didn’t start in an ideal fashion for Garforth when key defender Alex Low was forced off after a clash of heads less than five minutes into the game. Midfielder Sean Keyes came on to replace him, prompting a reshuffle where Chris Howard moved from right-back to centre-back and James Beaston dropped back from midfield to fill in where Howard had been.
Garforth struggled to get going in the first half as it became clear that the game would be a battle of strength and physicality. The first half-chance came when Shaquille Clarke-Adams fed the ball through the Mark Simpson on the left, but the striker was ruled offside.
It was an intense opening half an hour for Mike Thompson in midfield, who had been booked upon his first tackle 10 minutes in, and then was caught with a pair of challenges. First his foot was stood on when playing a through ball, and he needed further attention after being caught in the nose by a high foot. However, the midfielder gritted his teeth and battled on.
The linesman’s flag caught Town out again when Niah Payne made a good run down the wing but Devonte Morton was caught wrong side of the defender. Morton played it to strike partner Simpson, who put the ball in the net, but the offside flag was already raised.
Garforth were nearly caught out at the back after Bottesford somehow managed to create a chance despite being forced against the corner flag. The hosts played the ball into the box, leading to a shot for Bottesford’s number six, which was blocked.
A minute later came the first real chance of the game, when the hosts’ number nine took the ball brilliantly from the air, turning with his first touch. His shot was met by a strong Toby Wells hand to divert the ball for a corner. Play broke down from the set piece, but Bottesford put the ball back into the danger zone, with number 10 seeing his shot saved.
Shortly before the break some good play from Bottesford saw a one-two on the right-hand side lead to an effort from number 11, whose effort went across goal and wide.
Garforth knew they needed to do better in the second half, but they started on the back foot again when Daniel Omosebi’s clearance went straight to Bottesford’s number six. However, the midfielder’s ambitious effort from 35 yards out went over.
Town struggled to clear their lines again with Declan Greene’s attempt also going to a Bottesford player, who played it to number 11, but the shot was over.
Around five minutes into the second period there was a better spell of play from Garforth. Keyes backheeled the ball in the box to Simpson, whose shot was blocked. The ball came back out to Payne, whose effort went behind for a corner.
However, Garforth couldn’t build on it, and less than 10 minutes later they were behind. The referee awarded a penalty when Thompson tried to steal the ball from an attacker who had his back to goal on the edge of the box, but mistimed his challenge, bringing the Bottesford man down. The referee showed no hesitation in signalling the spot kick, and Henry Cook made no mistake as he sent the ball into the bottom right corner for 1-0.
It was a deserved lead for Bottesford, and they had a couple of chances to double it soon after. A corner caused problems for the Garforth defence, leading to a scramble in the box, with number 4’s shot eventually going wide. However, Wells played his goal kick straight to an opponent, and had to get down to save the resulting shot.
Next, number 11 ran down the left wing, given enough space to juggle the ball in the air. However, Wells eventually stopped his shot. The keeper had another save to make soon after, thwarting number 10’s half volley after the attacker had latched onto another poor clearance from Omosebi.
As Garforth tried to find their rhythm, Thompson broke forward into the box, but his effort just missed. He was then brought off as the coaches looked to make an attacking substitution, with striker Mark Ferguson replacing him.
There was a bizarre passage of play around the 80 minute mark as Bottesford were awarded an indirect free kick on the right-hand side of the box for a backpass after Wells had picked up from Howard. However, the taker blasted the ball across the box, presumably hoping for a deflection, but it hit nobody and went straight out for a throw in.
Chances were at a premium for Garforth, but an opportunity came when the opposing keeper spilled the ball out to Ferguson. The sub played it across to Simpson, who tried lifting it over the keeper, but his effort just lacked a bit of power and the shotstopper was able to save.
Garforth had their own penalty claims towards the end of the match when Morton was fouled in the box, but the referee failed to make a positive decision about it, waving the claims away.
Garforth’s last chance came in stoppage time when Ferguson and Simpson almost linked up again. The former received the ball with his back to goal before turning and trying to play a through ball to the latter. However, his pass went just in front of Simpson, meaning the striker couldn’t get it.
Finally the whistle blew to signify the end of a miserable afternoon for Garforth, in which the quality just wasn’t there. Next up is an away trip to Handsworth Parramore next Saturday, as the Miners look to end a four-game winless streak.