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Sat 11
Squires Gate
First team
J Colley (90')
Squires Gate 1-1 Garforth (Town won 4-3 on penalties)

Squires Gate 1-1 Garforth (Town won 4-3 on penalties)

By Andrew Marsh
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A late Joe Colley goal and a first penalty shoot-out victory in twelve years saw Miners through to the next round of the Buildbase FA Vase.

Defenders Jamie Barkway and Kevin Terhaerdt returned to the side after illness, allowing a reshuffle in midfield to replace the ill Dan Coupland, ineligible Charlie Marshall and the departed Sam Barker.

In a tense encounter between two well-organised teams, Garforth had the better of the first half. Town enjoyed a number of chances in the first twenty minutes, but sadly none were put away. Karl Fitzgerald, playing in an attacking midfield role, saw a curling strike deflected wide of the far post, then good play between Helmo Silva and Alex Burton saw the latter hit just off target. From Jack McGahan's long throw-in, James Burgess' turn and shot went just wide. Squires Gate slowly came into the tie and Jacob Ridings put a low shot just wide when played through by James Boyd. Shortly after Sope Awe saw a header claimed by Toby Wells from Isaac Abankwah's delivery to the far post.

Down the other end Burgess almost caught out 'Gate keeper Mike Hale from distance when his powerful strike went just over the bar, then Burton saw a 20-yard effort likewise go just over. There was another chance for Burgess when he won the ball 25 yards out, but his low drive was straight at Hale.

On 54 mins Burton saw a low shot deflected against the side netting after Burgess held the ball up on the left. After this point The Miners were forced into some gutsy defending as the hosts enjoyed the better of the second half chances. Jamie Barkway made a last ditch clearance after Ridings beat a stranded Wells just inside the box.

On 58 mins spectators (including those at the Blackpool Wren Rovers match next door) were treated to an impressive Red Arrows display, who must have known the scoreline at the Brian Addison Stadium was still 0-0. Saad Mekkaoui-Abouzaid's powerful strike went just over the bar, then Wells bravely punched away a Ryan Riley cross from the right, resulting in a collision with Kieran Feeney, who was able to continue after treatment. Wells was there again to make a cracking save to deny Feeney's volley, although the flag was raised for offside.

On 81 mins the deadlock was broken as the Lancashire side took the lead. Dean Ing was played through to slide the ball past Wells and into the net. Despite the introduction of three substitutes around the 85 minute-mark, Town looked to be heading out of FA competitions for another season, and were lucky when Chris Webster's arrowed shot cannoned off the far post. Deep into injury time however, one last attack resulted in substitute Joe Colley heading Fitzgerald's long-throw over a stranded Hale and into the net for a late late equalizer.

Penalty shoot-outs have been an agonising experience for The Miners over the years with defeats in the last three, but Paul Marshall's men had practiced them in midweek and in the end it showed. The hosts went first; spot-kicks from Riley, Ing and Feeney found the net, as did those from McGahan, Zanos and Colley to make it 3-3. Wells made an excellent save to keep out Webster's effort, before captain Denton held his nerve to make it 4-3 Garforth. Nearing his 100th appearance for the club, "Superman" wasn't done there and dived to his left to deny captain Josh Westwood and spark wild celebrations among the Town players.

A tough one to take for 'Gate after taking the lead late on, but it does at least leave them free to concentrate on their impressive FA Cup run. Town meanwhile host another NWCFL side in Garstang in the Second Qualifying Round on 25th September. Before that, we're back in league action next Friday 17th when we visit Hemsworth (kick-off 7:45pm).

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Match date

Sat 11, Sep 2021