They’re still – deservedly – top of the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division, but Yorkshire Amateur saw their advantage at the summit over Penistone Church cut to just four points after they went down 2-0 to local rivals Garforth Town at the Bannister Prentice Stadium yesterday – and Joint Manager, Neil Sibson was left wondering how his side’s first half display went unrewarded.
After a goalless first-half in front of an excellent derby crowd of 143 at Cedar Ridge, Sean Hunter rifled home after 50 minutes to put the Miners in front, and Daniel Williams sealed the win with just three minutes to go.
Neil lay the defeat firmly at the door of his side’s display after the break. “Not the result we wanted and not the second-hand performance we wanted either,” Neil admitted to TBG’s Editor Craig Kendall. “Not the best team we have played – although the scoreline would suggest that. It was a big East Leeds derby today – and Garforth gained the bragging rights. To be totally honest it has baffled me how we can play so well for 45 minutes – creating lots of good chances – and really should have been coming into the break 3 or 4 up – maybe even five up. To be fair to Town they did have one shot that was tipped onto the bar by our ‘keeper when they caught us on the break – but apart from that we weren’t really threatened.”
Neil asked his players for more of the same after the interval. “At half time we spoke about how well we had played despite not scoring, keeping the ball well and creating chance after chance,” he revealed. “Our message to the players was for more of the same but let’s keep our concentration – one of the defensive principles of play.”
Neil acknowledged the quality of the opening goal. “Town scored their first from a “worldie” of a free-kick into the top corner – which two keepers couldn’t have saved,” he conceded. “Their second came after some good perseverance down our left – which really should have been dealt with – and with the most obvious handball thrown into the equation leading up to the goal. The linesman should have given the hand ball – but bottled it, as is too often the case at this level. If the referee doesn’t give it, the linesman won’t either, even though one of their roles is to act as Assistant Referee. Even their coach (Mike Reynolds) agreed that it was hand ball. That’s not the reason we lost the game but consistency is what we strive for and an acknowledgement that he got it wrong – but we didn’t get either.”
“We huffed and puffed in the second half – with the free-flowing football missing,” Neil conceded, “and the biggest factor for me was our decision making and passing priorities – which we will be working on in training this week. It is – as they say – a funny old game, when one team can have so much possession and efforts on goal, but then lose the game. Fair play to Garforth – they put their bodies on the line, as one would expect in a local derby – and their ‘keeper is easily the man of the match. On another day it’s a very different story – but I’m afraid today wasn’t that day.”
Neil was philosophical as he moved on to Ammers next fixture – an away appointment at Eccleshill. “There will be many more twists and turns and a lot of footie to be played,” he summarised, “so we will move on, put right the wrongs in training, and learn from our second half display.”
“Happy New Year to you all.”