New Clipstone manager Jamie Hardwick felt there were “a lot of positives” to take from his first game in charge, despite the four-nil reverse.
A former Clipstone player himself, Hardwick will undertake the manager’s role alongside his existing duties with the development squad at Mansfield Town.
“We had quite a young squad today with an average age around 19. If we can cut out a few silly mistakes and be more positive in the final third we can turn it around. Originally, I thought it would take 3-5 weeks to turn it around but based on today’s performance it could happen quicker. I’m also looking to bring a few players in”.
Looking ahead to their mid-week fixture against Ollerton in the NCEL League Cup, Hardwick commented that “If we can take today’s performance into Wednesday then I’m optimistic about our chances”.
Against Garforth, the Cobras made a bright start but were then punished for elementary defensive errors and otherwise more than matched their more experienced opponents for long periods of the game.
Full back Ben Burbanks, one of seven players in the squad who played under previous manager Ian Cotton, made an early run down the right-hand side but there was no one on the end of his dangerous cross.
After ten minutes Cobras’ man of the match Luke Morgan exchanged passes on the edge of the box but his shot went wide of the goal.
But in the 14th minute the home side conceded possession cheaply in their own half and although Mitch Hamilton’s initial shot beat ‘keeper Levi Owen it came back off the bar and Callum Ward was on hand to put the ball in the net from close range.
Garforth doubled their advantage two minutes later when a long ball from Jack Lazenby into the box wasn’t dealt with properly and an unmarked Hamilton steered his header past Owen.
Tom Sharpe then came close for the home side firing a shot wide after Tim Gregory did well to win back possession near the area.
Cobras’ winger Tom Gledhill caused Garforth problems on a number of occasions with good runs although his teammates were unable to capitalise on the opportunities that he created.
The visitors were then gifted a third when Charlie Taylor diverted a Luke Kitson free kick past Owen for an own goal.
As half time approached a Morgan free kick for Clipstone found Sharpe at the near post but the latter was unable to get a decent connection and the ball went wide.
Garforth scored their fourth and final goal four minutes into the second period when a long ball skimmed off Taylor’s head into the path of Hamilton who moved into the area and coolly slotted the ball past the advancing Owen.
Hardwick used all three substitutes during the second half with Rhys Gray, Karl Bullock and Alfie Gaughan replacing Sharpe, Gledhill and Gregory respectively.
Referee Paul Buck eventually clamped down on Garforth’s often over-physical approach by showing yellow cards to Aiden Kearsley and Ross Shelton for fouls.
The young Clipstone team kept working hard until the very end and in the final minute good work by the impressive Morgan created a chance for Olly Ashton but his shot was straight at Peter Lawrie in the Garforth goal.
Full time Clipstone 0v4 Garforth Town
Clipstone’s next game is a local derby away against Ollerton Town in the NCEL League Cup Third Round on Wednesday 17th January, 7-45pm.