Garforth 0 Maltby Main 3
By Andrew Marsh
The Miners fell to a third straight league defeat as visiting Maltby comfortably took the points in a scrappy game containing little for home supporters to cheer.
With Aodhan Brownlee and Aiden Kearsley both confirmed as leaving the club this week, and Alex Low dual-registering with Evo-Stik League Clitheroe, manager Rob Hunter was forced into naming a makeshift defence; midfielders Matthew Wilkinson and Lee Turner moving to the back to help out James Beaston and Declan Greene. Sam Barker, Sean Hunter and Dan Williams all returned to the side however after being cup-tied on Tuesday, the latter named as a substitute.
Town didn't start too badly; striker Curtly Martin-Wyatt looking well on the way back to his unplayable best. On 8 mins he saw a 20-yard shot pushed wide by Maltby goalkeeper James Pollard when set up by Sam Barker, before lashing into the side netting on 19 mins after forging his way into the box. The visitors looked to counter and were yet to test Toby Wells in the Town goal, but they took the lead nonetheless on 37 mins when an attack down the left played in Aaron Moxam to find the net with a cracking finish which Wells could do little about.
As has been commonplace for some weeks now, Town struggled for any real quality going forward, the ideas certainly good but the execution not so. We did win a free-kick in a good position a minute before the break, but Mark Simpson's curling effort was easily dealt with by Pollard.
Barker shot just wide of the post when supplied by Martin-Wyatt moments after the restart, but we were lucky not to concede a second two minutes later when Steven Hopewell fired over the bar after the ball was given away. Jed McGowan too will have disappointed not to hit the target when a cross found him free inside the box, but he could only blaze into the strawberry fields. Moxam was denied by a last ditch challenge by Beaston on 59 mins, but it was no surprise when Main did make it two on 68 mins. Collecting the ball from Jordan Turner, Hopewell was given far too much space to work inside and finish low past Wells.
There was another chance for Barker on 74 mins when he worked in from the left, but his effort was over the bar. A minute later Moxam took the ball past Wells deep inside the box, but was denied by a last-ditch challenge from Beaston, before substitute Matthew Moore curled a shot past the far post after finding himself clear on the left. Barker forced a rare save from Pollard on 81 mins with a strike from a narrow angle after getting on the end of an overhit cross, before Simpson half-volleyed over the bar when supplied by substitute Joe Colley.
The chances soon resumed down the other end though in the final few minutes. Beaston rescued his teammates again when he deflected wide Parirs Dixon's shot, Wells did well to deny Moore at close range from the resulting corner, then Jordan Turner fired over the bar after the ball was worked down the left. It was 3-0 in the last kick of the game, when Dixon got the better of both Lee Turner and Greene to find Jordan Turner who converted into the empty net.
With Town carrying such little threat in front of goal at the minute, all games look difficult, but the upcoming visits to Hemsworth next Saturday 3rd March (kick-off 3pm) and Staveley the week after look especially tough. A vast improvement will be needed if we're to gain any points from either, and bring to a halt what can only be described as relegation form.