Copy: Mark Rawlinson
Photos: John McEvoy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Farsley proved they can once again mix it with the National League North big boys, as they tippled league leaders AFC Fylde 1-0.
James Hanson’s early chip was all that separated the sides as Celtic followed up their victory over play-off chasers Curzon Ashton two weeks ago with a win over the much-fancied Fylde side, condemning them to their first defeat of the season.
Buoyed by the return Adam Barton from injury and Tom Allan, who recently re-signed from Alfreton Town, the Celts were further aided in the game with the dismissal of Fylde’s Danny Philliskirk almost an hour into the contest.
They remained well organised at the back, affording Fylde next to no opportunities on goal, ensuring the deserved victory at The Citadel.
It took the Celts seven minutes to take the lead – a defensive mix-up between defender Jamie Stott and goalkeeper Chris Neal gave Hanson a sight at goal. The former Bradford City favourite didn’t waste the opportunity, with a measured lob finding the net from almost 30 yards out.
On 16 minutes, Farsley were awarded a free-kick just outside the box. Jordan Richards curling free-kick though was collected by Neal in the Fylde goal.
Then a spell of Fylde dominance followed, with Philliskirk’s shot blocked over for a corner by Will Hayhurst.
From the resulting corner, Joe Piggott headed into the side netting, and then from the next attack Harry Wright made a great save to deny Nick Haughton, as Celtic resisted the pressure from the Lancashire side.
On the half-hour mark, Hanson could’ve grabbed his second. He was unmarked as Hayhurst swung in a dangerous free-kick, but the forward headed over the target from inside the box.
The open encounter continued when three minutes later, Fylde could easily have levelled. Nathan Shaw sent in a low cross which keeper Wright got a hand on, then fortunately for the Celts, Dave Syers got to the ball before the Fylde forwards, to scramble the danger away.
Then on 36 minutes, Jimmy Spencer played Lewis Turner in on goal, but the midfielder could only produce a tame shot, which was swept up by Neal, ensuring the hosts would only go into the break one goal ahead.
Celtic were extended another helping hand from the Coasters on 58 minutes, when Philliskirk was sent from the field as he received his second yellow card of the afternoon, leaving the visitors to play the final third of the game with 10 men.
Adam Lakeland’s side were set up in a deep defensive 5-3-2 formation, and this helped soak up the majority of Fylde’s attacks, giving the visitors very few chances at goal.
In fact for the rest of the game, it was Farsley who looked most likely to score and they were unfortunate not to make it 2-0 on 73 minutes as Barton fed Syers, who sent a low cross-cum-shot into the box – the stretching Adam Clayton was just inches away from sliding the ball into the goal.
On 85 minutes Barton, who was named man of the match on his return from injury, found Allan to his left, but the centre-half saw his powerful shot kept out by Neal.
The Fylde goalkeeper had to produce two more good saves to deny Luke Parkin in the final stages; first tipping the substitute’s shot over the bar before saving from the forward again as the game entered stoppage time.
Farsley Celtic: Wright, Richards, Clayton, Syers, Allan, Hayhurst, Turner, Barton, Walton (Loughlan 82), Spencer (Blythe 89), Hanson (Parkin 75). Subs not used: Westcarr, Kherbouche.
AFC Fylde: Neal, Conlan, Whitmore, Tollitt (Osborne 89), Philliskirk, Haugton, Joyce, Shaw (Sampson 75), Perkins (Dobbie 65), Piggott, Stott. Subs not used: Obi, Jones.
Referee: Jonathan Irwin