Penistone Church 3 Garforth 1
A freak goal by Alex Low gave The Miners hope of making the headlines for a second Saturday in a row, but in the end it wasn’t to be as the second-place hosts came back to run out 3-1 winners.
Garforth put up a battling display in atrocious conditions but, unlike in the win over Yorkshire Amateur, couldn’t produce the quality in front of goal to cause another upset.
Manager Rob Hunter had the seemingly rare luxury of naming a largely unchanged side for the visit to the Memorial Ground; the injured Sean Hunter replaced by Mark Ferguson, himself back after injury forced him to sit out the last four games.
Town produced the first chance of the afternoon on 9 mins when Aodhan Brownlee’s cross-cum-shot was claimed by Penistone keeper Chris Snaith after good work by Kane Bingley. The hosts then came close from James Young’s corner kick; Tom Cadzow’s glancing header going just wide. Young then came close himself with a header at the back post narrowly off-target when picked out by Brett Lovell’s free-kick. Jordan Corduri then put a low shot wide on the edge of the box.
The effects of the swirling wind were laid bare on 27 mins, when Town took the lead arguably against the run of play. Alex Low probably wasn’t expecting to score his first goal of the club when playing a long ball from the centre of the park, but he did exactly that when a gust of wind carried it up and over the head of Snaith to find the back of the net.
Sadly our lead was to last only nine minutes, as two quickfire goals turned the game in Penistone’s favour. Corduri made a run in from the right, the midfielder was dispossessed, but the ball spilled loose on the edge of the box to Sam Scrivens who drilled into the bottom corner. Church captain Danny Howes put a low shot just wide shortly after, but it was 2-1 on 39 mins when Corduri was given two bites of the cherry just inside the box, his first shot was blocked by a defender but his second was fired low across Wells and into the far corner.
Now in search of an equaliser, Town started the second half well, and Curtly Martin-Wyatt was denied when through on goal by the challenge of Cadzow. We were handed a golden opportunity on 53 mins when, from Mitch Hamilton’s corner, Lovell handled in the box and referee Andy Smith pointed to the spot. With recent penalty takers Mark Simpson and Lee Turner not on the field, Bingley stepped up, but his effort was too close to Snaith who diverted it over the bar to preserve his side’s lead.
On 56 mins Rob Hunter made a double substitution; Lee Turner and Michael Thompson replacing Billy Lumsden and Aodhan Brownlee.
There was work to do for Wells just before the hour mark when saving at his near post from Nathan Keightley, then claiming a fierce drive from Corduri. On 78 mins he denied Scrivens when he raced clear of the defence.
A brief respite saw Turner shoot wide when supplied by Hamilton’s cross, but Penistone settled the contest a minute later when Scrivens was supplied by Ash Ellis to shoot low across Wells and into the net. The Town stopper produced another save at the near post to deny sub Kieran Ryan’s turn and shot making it four, before fellow sub Elliott Firth struck wide of the far post from a throw-in.
A deserved win for our South Yorkshire opponents who close the gap on our neighbours Yorkshire Amateur to a single point.
Meanwhile for Garforth, three points from two games against title-contenders is more than many would have expected, but today’s defeat finds us back in 14th with teams below breathing down our necks. So an important game next weekend at the Bannister Prentice Stadium when we host 17th place Thackley (kick-off 3pm).