Garforth's final friendly match saw us make the short journey to neighbours Nostell. The Welfare finished tenth in Division 1 last season and a recent change of manager saw Ian Walker appointed as they plot a return to Premier Division football. Once something of a bogey ground for The Miners, our last visit on 31st July 2018 ended in a 4-2 win, also in a friendly, courtesy of a Devonte Morton hattrick and an own goal.
Due to problems with the floodlights which were later resolved, the match kicked off 25 mins early which meant your match reporter missed the first fifteen. Helmo Silva and Dramane Coulibaly combined well on 20 mins for the latter to see his shot cleared in the six-yard box, before the two players combined again moments later; Silva's shot blocked on the line by a defender. Toby Wells was brought into action on 30 mins when saving a low shot from Nostell's number 20, then there was a great chance for Sam Barker just before the break when winning the ball near the corner flag and working his way inside, but his shot was straight at the 'keeper.
Another match, and another where (in normal circumstances) any supporters late out from the bar at half time will have missed a Garforth goal. Jack McGahan's corner three minutes in was met by Jack Lazenby who's downward strike went up and over defenders and into the top corner.
Wells made a great stop to deny Welfare's number 22 when he raced clear on 61 mins, then denied their number 18 from close range moments later as they looked to get back into the game. From then on however it was mostly Garforth who could well have had five or six. Substitute Lee Turner forced a near-post save from the 'keeper on 63 mins when supplied by Barker, but the same man doubled our lead on 76 mins when he broke clear of the defence to poke the ball past the onrushing 'keeper and fire into the empty net. Turner was the league's top scorer this time three years ago, and four goals this pre-season happily suggest his scoring days are not over yet. His turn and powerful volley from sub Charlie Marshall's cross was worthy of another four minutes later, but the Nostell stopper was equal to it. Marshall meanwhile had the ball in the net himself when turning home Turner's delivery six minutes from time, but was dubiously ruled offside.
A good win for Paul Marshall's men in murky and wet conditions not reminiscent of a typical pre-season, who now turn to next Tuesday's big FA Cup tie at home to Whitley Bay (kick-off 7:45pm).
Town team: Wells, Davison, McGahan, Mayall, Fitzgerald, Barkway, Tweddle, Lazenby, Coulibaly, Barker, Silva. Subs used: Marshall, Turner, Leach, Brown.