By John Baron
Farsley Celtic’s dismal run of away form continued as they lost 5-2 against fellow relegation candidates Curzon Ashton on Saturday.
The Celts have taken just one point in seven games on the road since a 2-0 win at Kettering in October and never got going in East Manchester yesterday.
The day didn’t start well for travelling Celts fans as the supporters’ club minibus broke down on the M62.
And the fans rescued by friends in cars could have been forgiven for wishing they had stayed on the hard shoulder as the visitors’ defensive frailties were exposed by a Curzon side who secured their first league win since November.
Despite Dave Syers’ header levelling matters after Josh Hancock’s opener from the spot, things started to go south for the Celts with Craig Mahon and Hancock netting his second before the break.
A second half double from Tom Peers put The Nash out of sight, before Frank Mulhern added a late consolation penalty as Farsley returned to Yorkshire empty handed.
Curzon started much the stronger. Farsley keeper Max Dearnley made a strong double-save inside the opening minute, and took the lead through an 11th minute penalty after Tom Allan needlessly slid in. Hancock coolly slotted home for 1-0.
Farsley were quick to respond as Syers met Kian Scales’ cross with an excellent header to put the ball past Chris Renshaw to level matters.
But the hosts bagged again just after the half-hour mark, as Mahon fired home after Farsley failed to clear a goalmouth scramble.
And two became three on 42 minutes as Curzon went into the break with a commanding lead. A slip from Adam Clayton put Hancock in down the left and he fired past Dearnley at his near post.
The Tameside outfit netted again six minutes after the break as Peers scored his first of the second half after an error from Dearnley saw the ball skip over him into the net.
The gap was then extended to four on 65 minutes, with Peers bagging his second by firing into the bottom corner after Farsley failed to clear.
The Celts were handed a 75th minute penalty after Tom Allan was felled in the box, and Frank Mulhern – who was comfortably Farsley’s best player – converted to pull one back for Russ Wilcox’s side.
Farsley had a few half chances to close the gap as Curzon sat back, but the game had already been lost.
Not for the first time this season a section of the Farsley support vented their anger at chairman Paul Barthorpe after the final whistle. HMRC this week discontinued their action to strike off the club after the club filed their 2021 accounts, which were due last May.
The Celts sit third from bottom in the league and will be looking for some respite as they face Albion Sports at The Citadel on Tuesday in the West Riding County Cup.
Curzon Ashton: Renshaw, Poscha, Matthews, Walker (Richards 90+1), Peers, Hancock (Jessop 76), Hayhurst, Waring, Mahon, Barton, Campbell.
Subs not used: Hall, Braithwaite, Armstrong.
Farsley Celtic: Dearnley, Turner (Atkinson HT), Butler, Clayton, Allan, Butroid (Parkin 64), Scales, Johnson, Syers (Ubaezuonu HT), Spencer, Mulhern.
Subs not used: Teale, Assenso.
Referee: David McNamara.
Post match reaction – Wilcox hopes performance is a ‘blip’
Farsley Manager Russ Wilcox recognised that his side were second-best on the day, as he said: “We certainly are [disappointed], credit to Curzon, the best team on the day won, by far.
“You can’t make basic errors as we have, the fundamentals of football are there, it goes on the board every week.
“I’ll take responsibility as well, I’m the manager, but that’s our third defeat in nine, so for a team third bottom we’re doing okay.
“I think that’s their second win in nine so they needed that, and deserved it, so no complaints about the scoreline, just disappointed about the goals we conceded.”
After going behind, Wilcox’s side did respond well, drawing level immediately through Dave Syers, before having a strong penalty shout of their own turned down.
“It was a key moment, the penalty shout, for me,” Wilcox continued.
“He wipes Kian out, that’s at one apiece, so for me, that’s a big moment. Whether that would have changed the complex of the game I’m not quite sure because Curzon were the better team, simple as.
“We’ve just come off the back of two really good performances, it’s a little blip. Again, credit to Curzon, they moved the ball well, caused us problems, their shape caused us problems, they won more first contact, more second balls, and they were just the better team on the day.”
But there were still positives to take from the game, as the Farsley boss continued: “I thought Frank did well, I thought some of our attacking play was good, we’ve scored two goals away from home.
“I thought without the ball today we were very passive, there was no intensity, no aggression in our play today, they won too many duels, which cost us the game.
“We just go again, we’ve spoken before when we’ve had little blips about our reaction as a group, we react as always, I’ve got a fantastic group in there.”