2013/14: Pre-season friendly – Garforth Town v Carlisle United

(Tuesday 16 July 2013)

It is a sporting cliché that the start of a new season brings fresh beginnings and a sense of optimism and nowhere will it apply more than at Garforth Town Football Club in 2013/14. Having finished the 2011/12 season in their highest ever position (fifth in Evo-Stik North First Division), the summer of 2012 proved to be a disastrous one. All but one of the playing squad left as did many of the significant people who ran the club and indeed a number of supporters. With chaos behind the scenes and on the pitch, the club lurched through the 2012/13 season to finish bottom with 16 points having conceded a staggering 157 goals and inevitable relegation to the Baris Northern Counties East League (NCEL) Premier Division. Thankfully the summer of 2013 has seen some stability restored to The Miners with the Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy coming on-board and the return of many of those who left the club last season including Brian and Jane Close and Paul Bracewell. As well as ensuring that matters on the pitch are on a more stable footing, the new management team will work to get the club back in the consciousness of the local community and start attracting fans back to Wheatley Park.

A ‘new’ era at Wheatley Park

On the pitch, Graham Nicholas has been appointed as the new manager. He brings with him a wealth of experience having coached at a number of club academies including Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley, Sheffield United and Rotherham United and in the 2012/13 season he worked with Athersley Recreation in the NCEL. In terms of pre-season fixtures, The Miners start tonight with a fixture against nPower League One side Carlisle United, with games to follow against Farsley AFC, Worsbrough Bridge Athletic and AFC Emley before the league action starts on 10 August.

The Miners are able to start their pre-season with such attractive opposition after reaching an agreement with Carlisle to allow the Cumbrian club to use Wheatley Park as a base to train when playing in and around the area. As part of the deal the team from Brunton Park agreed to play a friendly at Garforth.

(Wednesday 17 July 2013)

My last visit to watch Garforth Town was back in March this year on a grey cloudy day, when The Miners were bottom of the Evo-Stik North First Division and facing league leaders (and eventual Champions), Skelmersdale United. On and off the pitch it was obvious that the club was struggling. Despite being up against the top team in the division only 137 fans witnessed United take all three points with a comfortable 3-0 victory as Garforth were pushed closer to relegation. The ground itself both in terms of the pitch, the bar, the surroundings and the stand looked neglected and the players had kit on that was cobbled together from different seasons, all illustrating the problems at the club.

First-half action

Last night (just four months later), it was a very different situation at Wheatley Park as a good crowd of 216 witnessed a new start for Garforth Town in their first pre-season game of 2013/14. The pitch, whilst dry (unsurprising given the recent temperature), looked tidy and can only improve once there is a bit of rain and cooler days ahead. The clubhouse and stand have been cleaned and it’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to a place. On the pitch the players donned a new playing strip which featured yellow and blue stripes with blue shorts and yellow socks, adding to the ‘feel-good’ factor on the night. However despite all this no-one is getting carried away and there is a sense of realism at the club as new manager Graham Nichols reflected in his programme notes that “this season is about bringing stability to the club…”

Second-half: David Symington about to take a corner.

Of the game itself, Carlisle brought a strong squad and made all their professional class tell as they secured a 6-0 win, but in which Garforth played their part. Lee Miller coolly side-footed home after eight minutes to give United the lead and despite plenty of possession and chances only grabbed a second goal three minutes before half-time, when Mike Edwards fired home from a corner. Both sides introduced a number of substitutes in the second period and Carlisle scored four more goals. The first of these came from Danny Emerton with an easy header just before the hour mark and was added to by a sixteen minute hat-trick from Mark Beck, the pick of which was a clinical finish on eighty five minutes. At the whistle both sides left to generous applaud. A new era for Garforth Town has begun.

Final Score: Garforth Town (0) 0 – 6 (2) Carlisle United

Miller (8), Edwards (42), Emerton (59), Beck (73, 85, 89)

Garforth Town: Dom Smith (Paul Hagreen 46), Moise Misambu, Ben Sampayo, Nick Allen, Ben Jackson (Jack Kirk 30), Josh Greenhaigh (Chris NDukura 46), Alex Booker, Liam Royles (Taran Jheeta 46), Nick Black, Bobby Devine, Craig Tomkinson. Substitutes (Not Used) Victor Balis, Dougy Stevenson, Jack McMurrough.

Carlisle United: Mark Gillespie, Brad Potts (Brandon Gwinnutt 59), Reece James, Mike Edwards, David Livesey (David Symington 59), Paul Thirlwell (Danny Emerton 46), David Amoo (Graham Kavanagh 59), Jack Lynch (Josh Gillies 59), Lee Miller (Mark Beck 46), Lewis Guy (Alex Salmon 46), Matty Robson (Jordan Deacey 46).

Attendance – 216

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Posted July 17, 2013 by Editor in category "Football Features

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