by Thomas Ritchie
Additional reporting: John Baron
Farsley Celtic endured a difficult afternoon on the road at Southport, as the Celts slumped to a 4-0 defeat.
It was a day in which just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Russ Wilcox’s side, losing Jimmy Spencer to an injury in the first half, before Frank Mulhern was sent off after the break. Kian Scales also picked up an injury late on.
Yet it could have been a different story had Tom Allan converted a golden opportunity inside the opening two minutes.
Jimmy Spencer cleverly worked the ball to the centre-half in the box, who knocked the ball into space before seeing his strike superbly saved by Tony McMillan.
It would be a squandered opportunity that the visitors would rue less than 10 minutes later.
Owen Mason had produced an excellent finger-tip stop to deny Josh Hmami moments earlier, but then failed to clear a ball over the top, enabling Jordan Archer to pounce and roll into an empty net.
The hosts would double their advantage just after the half-hour mark, Hmami receiving a short throw before delivering for Adam Anson who did exceptionally well to angle his header inside the far upright.
From then on, it was Farsley who looked most like getting the next goal.
Shortly before the break, Jimmy Spencer saw a strike from distance parried by McMillan, with Carlton Ubaezuonu reacting quickest and pulling back for Chris Atkinson who drilled just wide from 12-yards.
Owen Mason then had to stand strong as he made a smart save to deny Archer at the other end, before Mulhern crossed for Ubaezuonu who could only head straight at McMillan.
However, with 25 minutes remaining the Celts’ hopes of getting back in the game were dashed when Frank Mulhern received his marching orders, shown a second caution for a high boot.
The match was then put to bed by the visitors on the break, Jack Bainbridge sliding in Niall Watson, who calmly slotted home from the edge of the box.
And the hosts would add a fourth as Kian Scales’ ball across the pitch lacked the pace to reach Mason, Watson winning the ball and then showing excellent composure to turn and rifle home.
Southport: McMillan, J. Doyle, Anson, Evans, Munro, Archer (Heath 65), Walton, Quansah, Hmami, Watson, Bainbridge (Carberry 79). Unused subs: Mason (GK), Oliver, C. Doyle.
Farsley Celtic: Mason, Turner, Butroid, Johnson, Syers ©, Allan, Ubaezuonu, Atkinson (Parkin 77), Spencer (Osadebe 43), Mulhern, Scales (Dube 86). Unused sub: Morgan (GK).
Attendance: 1,046 – including 32 travelling Celts.
The Celts suffered their third consecutive defeat on the road, conceding 13 goals in a poor run of form. Defeats include 5-1 at Gloucester, 4-3 at Chorley and 4-0 at Southport yesterday.
Celts boss Russ Wilcox described the defeat as ‘a shocker of a day’. He felt the scoreline didn’t reflect the game, and lamented injuries to his three first-choice centre backs – as well as the injuries and suspensions picked up yesterday.
Wilcox called for money to be released by the club to bring in more players to boost squad numbers.
Another away trip next Saturday – this time the short journey to neighbours Bradford Park Avenue in the second round of the FA Trophy. Admission details can be found here.