This is the first time we have come up against Garstang so we have no history to look back on. Instead, we will take a look at the lions progress through the Macron Cup over the seasons.
Our first foray into the what was then known as the League Challenge Cup took place on 26th September 2015 when the Lions visited local rivals Cheadle Town for the first time.
In a close game in front of 62 fans at Park Road, the Lions took a 7th minute lead through Andrew Mottershead before the home side equalized on 36 minutes. A second half strike from Matthew German on 51 was sufficient to see the Lions through 2-1 in their first ever competitive cup match.
The second round on 24th October 2015 saw the Lions once again drawn away – this time to Alsager Town. Once again it was our first visit to Woodpark Stadium and the Lions ran out comfortable 3-0 winners on the day with 2 penalties to Nathan Neequaye in the 4th and 43rd minutes sandwiching a second goal in the competition from Matthew German on 10 minutes.
Our cup adventure ended on 28th November 2015 when drawn at home for the first time, we came up against our bogey team Barnton. In front of a sparse crowd of 39 at SSV the Lions found themselves 2-0 down at half time and the Lions slipped further behind before a 90th minute consolation goal from Ruben Abreu saw the game finish 3-1 to our opponents.
Our second entry into the Macron Cup as it became known ended at the first hurdle as another visit to a new ground saw us away to Sandbach United on 1st October 2016. In the first of four meetings over the season, the Lions took a 1-0 half time lead from a Jake Pollard goal on 26 minutes. The second half was much more frenetic as firstly Sandbach equalized on 50 minutes before Pollard scored his second of the game to give the Lions a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately this lasted barely a minute as the home side equalised immediately before taking the lead for the first time on 63 minutes and sealing the tie 4-2 in the 72nd minute. The game also saw only the second red card in Lions history as James Hampson was red carded for violent conduct.
The 2017-18 season Macron Cup was remarkable for the Lions as time after time they were drawn against higher league opponents.
First up on 16th October 2017 were Maine Road who as a premier division team were clear favourites but on a hideously windy evening, Lions captain Grant won the toss and chose to play with the wind at the back of the Lions in the first half. Within 5 minutes the Lions were in front from Stott before Dwyer doubled the lead on 18 minutes. The game seemed to be heading for a 2-0 half time score line before the Lions hit the sky blues with a three goal blitz in the final four minutes to take a virtually unassailable 5-0 lead into the break. The scorers were Dwyer, McConnell and Stott with his second of the game.
Despite the wind not abating, the Lions were able to deal with the conditions far better than their opponents and increased their lead on 59 minutes when Stott completed his hat trick.
The visitors did pull back a consolation goal on 82 minutes but their joy was short lived as Hinchliffe rounded off a brilliant performance from the Lions with their 7th one minute later.
The second round saw us once again drawn at home on 29th November 2017 to Premier Division opponents, this time league leaders Runcorn Linnets.
Another fantastic performance under Monday night lights saw the Lions take the lead through Ben Halfacre after just 4 minutes. This was the signal for a very good Linnets team to apply significant pressure to the Lions defence and very much with the run of play they equalised in the 18th minute. The game continued in much the same vein with relentless attacking from the visitors matched by excellent defending by the Lions and half time was reached with the score 1-1.
The second half was much the same as the first as wave after wave of Linnets attack was met by the solid Lions defence and a confidence grew within the team that they could get something from the game. This was borne out in the 69th minute when a good break from the Lions ended with Halfacre sweeping the ball home from close range to give the Lions a 2-1 lead which they were able to hold on to for fantastic win.
The 3rd round quarter final draw on 12th March 2018 once again pitted us up against premier opponents – again at home under Monday evening lights to struggling Abbey Hey. The game saw the debut of young keeper Kyle Haslam who was called into action within the first 5 minutes both conceding and then saving a penalty. Further misadventure befell the Lions as midfielder Luke Hincks was unfortunately sent off for a very soft offence after 10 minutes.
The cagey first half was petering out to a tame draw before the visitors took a surprise lead on 42 minutes. However the resilient Lions equalised immediately through Ben Halfacre and his equaliser took the teams through to half time at 1-1.
The second half continued much as the first with neither side really dominant and the game was heading towards the final 10 minutes when Halfacre bagged his second of the evening and the Lions were able to see the game out with the 2-1 victory.
The semi -final, saw yet another home draw on 26th March 2018 against yet another premier side and unfortunately this proved to be a game too far for the Lions as we came up against a very well organised Irlam side. After conceding a 15th minute lead, the Lions probed as best they could against strong opponents but despite constant attacking pressure, they eventually ran out of steam conceding 3 late goals to end up undeserved 4-0 losers.