Words: Thomas Ritchie
Promotion-chasing Gateshead fought back from 3-1 down to defeat 10-man Farsley 4-3 in a controversy-filled afternoon at the Citadel.
Farsley dominated large parts of the game, but Jimmy Spencer’s dismissal at 3-2 proved to be a key moment, as the visitors kicked on to snatch all three points.
It was an end-to-end, high tempo opening to the game, with Gateshead having the best chance in the early stages, Macaulay Langstaff producing a smart save from Tom Donaghy at the near post.
It would be the visitors who would take the lead midway through the half, Paul Blackett beating the offside trap and keeping his cool to slot home.
The Celts responded superbly to falling behind, and had the opportunity to draw level when Adam Clayton went down following an aerial challenge in the box, Referee Paul Brown pointing to the spot much to the bewilderment of the Gateshead players.
Will Hayhurst made no mistake, converting his second penalty in as many league games as he fired into the bottom left corner.
Barely two minutes later Farsley had turned the game on its head. Luke Parkin whipped a tantalising free-kick into the box, with Chris Atkinson getting to the ball ahead of ‘Heed shot-stopper Jacob Chapman and nodding into the empty goal.
Chances continued to flow for both sides before the break, Luke Williams being denied from point-blank range by Donaghy, before at the other end Parkin dragged agonisingly wide of the upright.
It was the hosts who would strike next, less than 60 seconds after the restart. Will Hayhurst whipped in a cross from the by-line on the left-hand side, with the oncoming Jordan Richards heading past Chapman.
Langstaff then pulled a goal back against the run of play, pouncing on a loose ball in the box to give his side hope.
The Heed were then boosted further as Farsley were reduced to 10 men, Spencer receiving his marching orders with referee Brown determining he led with his elbow in a challenge with Greg Olley.
With 15 minutes remaining that extra man was made to count, substitute Cedwyn Scott finishing into the bottom corner to level.
Olley himself was then perhaps fortunate to remain on the pitch, appearing to kick out at Luke Parkin after fouling him, but a caution was deemed requisite punishment.
With the 10 men of Farsley battling valiantly to hang on for a point, Mike Williamson’s side struck decisively in the first minute of additional time.
Adam Campbell whipped the ball towards goal from 25 yards out, just evading the outstretched Scott but nestling in the bottom corner.
After deliberation between the officials around whether Scott was in an offside position and attempted to play the ball, the goal was given, and the visitors had completed a stunning turnaround.
Farsley Celtic: Donaghy, Richards, Hayhurst (Akiotu 89), Allan, Syers, Clayton, Turner, Atkinson, Scales (Walton 76), Parkin, Spencer. Unused subs: Trenerry (GK), Fialdini, Drake.
Gateshead: Chapman, Wombwell, Hunter, Storey, Jacob, Bailey, Pani (Ward 52), Olley, Williams (Scott), Langstaff, Blackett (Campbell 70). Unused sub: Nicholson.