Garforth 4 Hall Road Rangers 1
A Mark Ferguson brace, plus goals from Aodhan Brownlee and Devonte Morton completed a comprehensive win over Hall Road Rangers to make it four games unbeaten.
Whilst the margin of victory flattered Garforth, it was reward for our perseverance after missing a number of chances first half and being pegged back by the battling visitors just after the break.
The first chance fell Hall Road's way two minutes in when a break forward ended in Regan Waud hooking over the bar. On four mins Aodhan Brownlee came close with a header just wide after Rangers keeper James Hitchcock palmed away Devonte Morton's ball across the six-yard box. Brownlee had his goal though just two minutes later when he nipped in to volley home captain James Beaston's cross. It was the full-back's second Town goal, his first coming against the very same opponents back in April.
On eleven minutes Ben Lewis almost caught out Town stopper Toby Wells with a 40-yard effort which bounced up and over the bar. Further chances followed for The Miners around the 20-min mark, but they couldn't find their way past Hitchcock. A determined run across the edge of the box by Morton sadly couldn't be rewarded when Hitchcock got down to save his low strike, a Sean Keyes effort was turned around the post after some intricate play, then the keeper produced another great save to deny Morton after he got on the end of Brownlee's delivery.
Town struggled to assert themselves after this point, and often gave away possession in midfield. We had Wells to thank for preserving our lead on 39 mins when he made a super stop to keep out Matty Carter's header. There was one good chance for Curtly Martin-Wyatt in injury time when he was supplied in space by Morton just inside the area, but could only shoot straight at Hitchcock.
Rob Hunter made a double substitution at the break; Mark Ferguson and Shaquille Clarke-Adams replacing Niah Payne and Albert Ibrahimi.
Four minutes into the half the visitors were level when Town gave the ball away to Ben Vazquez who supplied Connor Harman in space to control and drill the ball past Wells into the bottom corner. The Miners now had to do it all again, and responded with chances for Clarke-Adams, who had a strike from the edge of the box blocked by a defender, and then Morton who shot straight into the arms of Hitchcock from close range after Ferguson had brought down a corner kick.
We were lucky not to be behind on 56 mins when a Rangers free kick picked out Vazquez in acres, but his diving header was over the bar. Midfielder Joe Colley was introduced for The Miners on 64 mins and within seven minutes had contributed towards a goal out of nothing. Hitchcock looked to have shepherded out of play his long ball forward, but a chasing Ferguson managed to poke the ball past him and into the net from an almost impossible angle for his first club goal.
The three substitutes had freshened things up for Garforth who went on to find the net twice more in the dying minutes of the game to finally seal the points. Before that though, on 82 mins Morton looked odds on to score when racing clear with only Hitchcock to beat, but could only place the ball into the side netting.
Three minutes later Hall Road's Regan Waud went down with what looked like a bad injury, but after treatment was able to continue.
Town were awarded a penalty on 88 mins when Morton was brought down inside the box by Harman. The striker stepped up himself and sent Hitchcock the wrong way to make it 3-1. And there was a second for Ferguson in injury time when Clarke-Adams' cross found him free at the back post to tuck into an empty net.
Another break from league action sees The Miners make the trip up north next Saturday for our big FA Cup clash at South Shields (kick-off 3pm).