Tongue Triple Topples Town

The Lions progressed to the next round of the West Riding County Cup on a freezing cold night in Garforth, thanks to a hat trick of thumping strikes from captain Liam Tongue, writes David Robertson.

Manager Andy Welsh made a number of changes from Saturdays draw with Hyde, taking the opportunity to give Courtney Meppen-Walters a run out, and handed a first senior start to academy graduate Jack Mason.

Perhaps hoping to unsettle the reshuffled visitors it was Garforth who started brighter. Matt Antcliff forced a good save one on one with Ollie Battersby after just three minutes, and again later in the half when teed up by Sam Barker.

There was a disappointment for Meppen-Walters – he was forced to withdraw early with injury, and replaced by Prince Ekpolo, necessitating another defensive shuffle.

While far from their best, it was Guiseley who opened the scoring. Liam Tongue picked the ball up just outside the area and rifled home a thunderous shot. Buoyed by the strike, Guiseley started moving the ball better and creating opportunities of their own. Only a few minutes after the opener, Mason latched onto a long ball over the top and sped down the line to pull the ball back for Liam Tongue, who hammered another effort past Harry Flatters, this time to the keeper’s right.

Garforth, whose high press had previously caused tremendous difficulty, began to step off, perhaps fearful of allowing the game to completely slip away. This offered Guiseley a chance to create more, but the third would not come before the break.

Garforth again started the second half brighter forcing a goalmouth scramble in the early stages and putting a dangerous cross that zipped across the goalmouth but could not be met by the onrushing striker. Just before the hour, Liam Tongue’s surging run was brought to a halt on the edge of the D. The captain picked himself up, took the free kick, and thwacked the ball through the wall and under the keeper for his hat trick.

The last half hour of the game saw a flurry of substitutions that broke up the flow of the game and with the result secured, genuine goal scoring opportunities were scarce. There was one moment of concern in the closing minutes as Kallan Murphy was caught late and hobbled off. All subs used, the Lions finished the game with ten men.

Overall a solid performance, and Andy Welsh’s men can look forward to the last eight.

Garforth Town 0-3 Guiseley | Tuesday 19th December 2023 | Wheatley Park

Attendance: 234

Garforth Town: 1 Harry Flatters, 2 Joe Smith (Max Zachariou 69′), 3 Jordan Emery (Rinor Ejupi 59′), 4 Dexter Ball, 5 Harry Viggers, 6 Jamie Barkway, 7 Charlie Marshall, 8 Dan Coupland , 9 Matt Antcliff (Sam Denton 69′), 10 Sam Barker, 11 Nash Connelly (Jay Davies 59′)

Subs: 12 Sam Denton, 14 Rinor Ejupi, 15 Jay Davies , 16 Max Zachariou

Guiseley: 1 Oliver Battersby, 2 Aiden Walker, 3 Reece Kendall (Tom Pratt 76′), 4 Leigh Whelan, 5 Jameel Ible, 6 Courtney Meppen-Walters (Prince Ekpolo 13′), 7 Jack Mason (Tom Denton 76′), 8 Liam Tongue , 9 Kallan Murphy, 10 Gabriel Johnson (Callum Chippendale 67′), 11 Nsaka Jordi (K’Marni Miller 67′)

Subs: 12 Prince Ekpolo, 14 Tom Denton, 15 Tom Pratt, 16 Callum Chippendale, 17 K’Marni Miller

Next Up:

3:00 pm
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