Michael Garnett stars in masterclass for Oxenhope Rec

First published in District Sport

Third round Oxenhope Rec 13 Altofts 2 Oxenhope produced a superb team performance to progress to the last 16 of the County Cup with an emphatic win over Altofts.

The West Yorkshire League Premier Division side produced a masterclass of fast, flowing football on a tricky surface to outplay their Division One opponents.

Taking the game to the visitors from the whistle, the hosts opened the scoring on the quarter-hour.

James Bailey won the ball and played in overlapping full back Chris Day, who whipped in a precision cross that was swept home by Dan Moriarty.

Five minutes later Mor-iarty played in Gaz Ritson, who danced his way past two defenders before passing to Michael Garnett to drive into the net.

Garnett doubled his tally when he took a touch before cleverly clipping the ball over the keeper.

The big striker claimed his hat-trick when Ritson was brought down by a heavy tackle but the referee waved play on and Garnett placed his strike over the keeper.

Moriarty then saw a shot hit the post before Bailey crossed on the half-hour and that man Garnett powered his shot through a crowd of defenders for number five.

Oxenhope’s defenders then went to sleep and allowed Altofts to claw one back.

The home side resumed their dominance when Ritson went through but was foiled by the keeper, who then brought off a superb one-handed save, tipping the ball over to deny Jonathan Clewes.

The Worth Valley side were not to be denied, though. Moriarty’s shot was blocked but Liam McNicol was on hand to smash home the follow-up.

Garnett struck his fifth – and Oxenhope’s seventh – before Clewes blasted into the roof of the net after Ollie Metcalfe’s attempt was cleared.

Manager Paul Brearey left the pitch with a huge smile on his face as he went back to the dressing room at half-time but he still demanded more from his troops.

They responded soon after the the restart when playmaker Metcalfe went past his marker and cleverly drew the keeper before passing into the net.

Ritson made it double figures and Moriarty cut in from the right and un-leashed an unstoppable shot that flew in at the near post.

Man of the match Garnett was then brought down in the box and Scott Nelson strode up to confidently fire home the resulting penalty.

A Garnett strike was parried and Moriarty tucked away the loose ball for number 13, completing his hat-trick in the process.

The tie then fizzled out as the home side played keep-ball to run down the time but Altofts seized on their casualness and scored a late consolation.

This Saturday it is back to league fixtures when Oxen-hope entertain Kippax at Marley (2pm).

Oxenhope: Hudson, Day, McNicol, Trowers, Scott, Clewes, Bailey, Moriarty, Garnett (Gallagher), Metcalfe, Ritson.

l Oxenhope reserves’ West Riding FA County Trophy game at Silsden White Star was postponed due to a frozen pitch, so the two teams must try again this Saturday (1pm).

Oxenhope thirds’ game with Grindleton reserves was also postponed.

They entertain Cowling reserves this weekend at the Recreation Ground (2pm).

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