By Thomas Ritchie
Farsley Celtic picked up a vital three points in their fight to avoid relegation with a 1-0 derby day victory over Guiseley.
Any derby victory is meaningful, but for Farsley this was a win that saw them move five points clear of their local rivals, who occupy the sole relegation spot, having played just one game more.
What turned out to be the match-winner from Frank Mulhern arrived inside 60 seconds, and while the visitors saw most of the ball throughout the 90 minutes, the Celts could have been out of sight by the break.
It was a goal worthy of winning any game from Frank Mulhern, the second goal in two games for the forward who has had a tremendous impact on the Celts’ recent turnaround in fortunes.
A misplaced header from Regan Hutchinson dropped to Mulhern just outside the box, and the ex-Lion struck a sensational first-time volley past the helpless Owen Mason in the Guiseley goal in front of more than 1,000 fans.
The visitors then had a couple of half-chances to draw level, James Gale blasting over from inside the box, before Lebrun Mbeka saw his header comfortably saved by young debutant David Robson.
Guiseley would control the ball for most of the first half without really threatening the hosts’ goal, but in the final 10 minutes, Farsley sprang to life and should have extended their advantage.
Owen Mason was forced into action to save from Frank Mulhern, Luke Parkin and Lewis Turner in a three-minute spell, with Mulhern also curling agonisingly wide on the follow-up to Parkin’s effort.
The biggest opportunity would fall to Kennedy Digie, who was somehow allowed to escape his man in the box, but planted his free header from a Will Hayhurst delivery over.
The Lions’ best chance to draw level came 20 minutes into the second half, and it came via miscommunication in the Farsley backline.
Robson was unable to gather a ball that just failed to reach his area, and it eventually came to John Johnston, who failed to hit the target with the Farsley ‘keeper scrambling to recover.
Even with Guiseley pushing for the leveller, Farsley still had chances to put the game to bed. Digie drilled a low effort straight at Mason before an error at the back allowed Jacob Gratton an opportunity, but, off-balance, he could only shoot at the young goaltender.
However, Robson, on loan from Hull City, would have to stand strong in the closing moments to deny the visitors, saving a Kaine Felix strike before reacting quickly to smother the ball as Gale attempted to squeeze home.
And despite a nervy six minutes of additional time, Farsley would see them out to earn a crucial three points, and make it just one defeat in six in the league. The win saw them leapfrog Blyth Spartans into third from bottom.
Saturday sees the Celts entertain in-form Kettering at The Citadel.
Celts boss Russ Wilcox said the game was a tough challenge against a Guiseley side who played good football at times. He was keen to stress that, despite the victory, Farsley have achieved nothing yet, with seven games left still to play.
Farsley Celtic: Robson, Turner, Digie, Clayton, Butroid, Hayhurst, Atkinson ©, Belehouan, Parkin, Spencer (Greaves 90+2), Mulhern (Gratton 79). Unused subs: Trenerry (GK), Drake, Malumo.
Guiseley: Mason, Cantrill, Latty-Fairweather, Ekpolo (Hey 77), Bencherif ©, Mbeka, Felix, Hutchinson (Stones 77), Gale, Johnston, Kellett. Unused subs: Brown, Tear, Haw.