Whaley guaranteed a top three finish with a last minute winner from local boy Matt Brown.
Garswood got out of the starting blocks quickest and set the tempo dominating the early stages of the game; they were first to everything and deserved an early lead though Whaley contributed with a poor goal kick that subsequently wasn’t cleared allowing Garswood’s pacey forward Jaylo in but he still had a lot to do and showed strength and composure placing his shot wide of Tattersall.
Whaley changed their shape to three in central midfield and slowly got back into the game and ultimately piled on a lot of pressure late in the half. Dan Christie broke clear getting to the bye line before checking back but his shot was blocked on the line, the ball fell to Broome who volleyed over from 3 yards! Sutton’s corners were causing problems for Garswood and on 35 minutes George burgess headed over from 4 yards! Shots from Morris & Christie were again well saved by Garswood’s big keeper Benarzyk producing yet another great display. Whaley couldn’t get the equaliser and not only went in at half time one nil down but had three casualties all with twisted ankles; although the pitch has plenty of grass on it and had sprinklers wetting the surface all morning it remains very hard.
Jace Broom was unable to carry on for Whaley so Matt Brown was introduced at the interval. Captain Dignan had a torn calf but continued given the competitive nature of the game and Morris had his ankle strapped but struggled to run.
Matt Brown made a significant difference and Whaley now had service coming in from the left. George Burgess and Lee Morris both had great opportunities to level but couldn’t beat Benarzyk. Garswood’s Matty Gregory showed great inniative seeing Tattersall off his line - his clever 40 yard free kick had the keeper scrambling back and he just got finger tips to the shot pushing it on to the bar.
The game was heading into the last third when another Sutton corner was met full on by the impressive Micky Ryan and his goal bound power header was turned in by Christie who was positioned in front of the Garswood keeper. Whaley pushed for the winner but were nearly caught out by some great individual play from Jaylo as his delicate first touch on a ball received direct from the keeper gave him a one on one with Tattersall, his shot was blocked by the Whaley keeper which kept the home side in the game. Man of the match Sutton produced a match winning pass, splitting the Garswood defence, that was volleyed in emphatically by Matt Brown - the power gave Benarzyk no chance and give Whaley a great late victory. Garswood were superb and were a credit to their club today but Whaley showed great character to come back from one nil and win the game with their supporters going home fully entertained.
J Tattersall D Whelan M Ryan C Moss P Walker B Sutton S Dignan (c) G Burgess J Broome (45)
L Morris (80) D Christie (1)
Subs M Brown (45) (1) J Drayson (80) L Prophet