Staveley MW 3 Garforth 1
By Andrew Marsh
Dan Williams was on target with a second half strike, but two Staveley goals in the first six minutes gave us too much of a mountain to climb.
Reflecting a shortage of centre-backs, manager Rob Hunter employed a three-man defence of James Beaston, Declan Greene and Billy Lumsden. Midfielder Michael Thompson made his first start since January's 1-1 draw with Thackley, and the absence of Kane Bingley and Curtly Martin-Wyatt paved the way for a return to the first eleven for Dan Williams and Mark Simpson.
The hosts put themselves ahead in their first attack with barely a minute on the clock when Michael Burke made his way in from the left and find Robson Doolan in the box to squeeze a low shot through Toby Wells’ legs. A first goal in open play for The Trojans in the three meetings between the two sides this season. Things got even worse for Garforth on 6 mins when they doubled their lead, Adam Baskerville outpacing his man to slot home Sam Kay’s cross.
Given the differences in league positions and form, Town looked to be staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat. Instead, they showed resilience to stem the flow of goals and go up the other end and create a few chances of their own. Joe Colley brought a routine save from Staveley keeper Myles Wright on 13 mins after a delivery to the back post was laid off by Sam Barker. Some desperate defending from the hosts denied Barker and Dan Williams (the latter twice) when they found themselves free just outside the area shortly after, earning a corner kick which sadly come to nothing.
There was almost a third for the hosts on 28 mins however when miscommunication at the back let in Burke, but with Wells stranded he could only shoot wide of the empty net. From then it was end to end; a volley from Sean Hunter was pushed wide by Wright, Wells pulled off a brilliant save to deny Baskerville’s (?) downward header from a corner and just before half time there was a good chance for captain Thomas Poole when supplied deep in the box, but blazed over the bar.
Town were showing some long overdue composure in their attacking play and were arguably the better side in the second half against their at-times nervous looking opponents who perhaps felt the weight of expectation after their blistering start. On 63 mins Barker’s through-ball caused confusion in the Staveley rearguard, letting in Mark Simpson who’s shot beat the onrushing Wright, but ended up the wrong side of the upright. Great work down the left from Hunter and Simpson moments later saw the former cross into the box, but with nobody to pull the trigger. We deservedly got one back on 66 mins when some good play down the right ended in Williams beating Wright with a low strike from the edge of the box. Two goals in as many games for the tenacious midfielder who now has five to his name.
On 69 mins Wells slid in to deny substitute Matthew Davies at his near post after he got free on the right. Town went back in search of an equaliser, but luck seems to have deserted us at this venue in recent years and on 78 mins the Derbyshire side scored a crucial third against the run of play. Poole raced clear down the right wing and his resulting shot was turned into his own net by Declan Greene.
Substitute Mitch Hamilton forced a good stop from Wright when picked out by James Beaston’s delivery to the back post four minutes from time, before the game ended with a couple of chances for the hosts to claim what would have been a very flattering fourth. Substitute Charlie Oglesby rifled a 20-yard effort wide, before Joe Pugh was inches from getting on the end of Poole’s dangerous free-kick delivered across the area.
Town sink to 17th place as our winless run goes on, but a big opportunity looms in the form of four consecutive home games, starting with the visit of Bottesford Town next Saturday (kick-off 3pm).