James Grayson visited Roundwood and this article appears in Non League Football
Mark Simpson’s sensational wonder goal was the difference as Garforth Town defeated their former manager Graham Nicholas’ Parkgate.
Updated 16:05 - 13 Oct 2017 by Parkgate FC
Garforth’s prodigal son increased Garforth’s lead, given to them by Calum Ward, with his ‘worldie’ in the second half – an effort that deserved to win any game.
Brad Kerr’s lucky goal created 20 minutes of squeaky-bum time for Garforth, but they held on to climb to ninth in the table.
What the score-line does not tell you is that both sides were well-matched. Parkgate did not look like a side that had loss several key players recently. The home side defied their lowly position by being the dominant side for certainly the opening half-hour.
Led by their excellent captain Jassim Alali, Parkgate pressed their visitors high up the pitch, meaning Garforth made few forays forward early on.
Parkgate, whose manager Nicholas was in charge of the Miners between June 2013 and November 2015, failed to take advantage of their pressure and Garforth gained the front-foot with one of their first attacks.
After being fouled outside the area by home goalkeeper Tim Griffiths, Ward picked up himself to curl the resulting free kick around the wall and into the far bottom corner to place his side ahead.
In their second half response, Parkgate lacked urgency going forward. Although the sides were well-matched, the hosts never truly hurt Garforth. There were corners and deflected efforts, but goalkeeper Pete Lawrie did not have to make a major save.
The decisive goal came out of nowhere. Simpson, a player with the knack of being quiet for 89 minutes, but capable of destroying teams in the space of 60 seconds, demonstrated that trait once again.
His guile down the left created the magic moment. From 25 yards he spotted the Parkgate stopper slightly off-his-line and went for the spectacular. The ball flew over Griffiths and hit the under-side of the bar before landing in the net – sending the Miners players, management and supporters into ecstasy.
A year ago, Garforth may have caved in and allowed Parkgate to snatch a point. But this Miners team is very resolute and prepared to roll up their sleeves so it was going to take something special for the hosts to score another.
Hairy moments inevitably followed, but helped by the superb centre-back pairing of Luke McCrum and Josh Dacre, Garforth stood firm.
Kerr had the opportunity to be the hero in the fourth minute of added time when Parkgate were awarded a very dangerous free kick. He spurned the chance by blasting last kick of the game wide and high out of the ground – and probably towards nearby Barnsley.
Garforth, with clearly their best side in a few years, are looking up the table, while Parkgate are nervously glancing over their shoulders with some tough fixtures coming up.
Parkgate: Griffiths, J Harris, D Harris, Alali, Zalo, Shelton, Guest, Howard, Kerr, Hirst, Sutton. Subs: Stewart, Dancevsky, Nicholas.
Garforth Town: Lawrie, Kearsley, Kitson, Beaston (captain), Dacre, McCrum, McMurrough, Coupland, Ward, Hamilton, Simpson. Subs: Reeson, Hunter, Lazenby, Donaghue.