By John Baron. Photos: John McEvoy
New-look Farsley Celtic remain without a win in five pre-season games – but new boss Clayton Donaldson must have been impressed by what he saw against his old club York City last night.
The Celts put in a valiant effort against higher league opposition, and were unlucky to lose a game decided by a controversial second half penalty.
The home side put in a strong first-half performance and played some good possession football at times.
It’s fair to say The Celts, who have signed 11 new players this summer, have been ‘shot shy’ in their previous friendlies – but against the Minstermen there were clear signs the players were at last beginning to gel and create chances.
Farsley got off to the perfect start on 13 minutes when young prospect Joao Silva fired the ball home from outside the area with a left-footed strike to record his second goal of pre-season.
City didn’t let conceding an early goal go to their heads and they pushed on for an immediate equaliser. Adam Crookes forced a corner after Zan Luk spilled Kouhyar’s initial effort on target, before John-Lewis’ header was met with a smart save from Farsley trialist keeper Luk.
The visitors were level 13 minutes later when a deflection gave Maz Kouhyar a golden chance to equalise from just a few yards out, despite Farsley appeals for offside.
Farsley came close to nudging themselves back in front on the half-hour mark when player/head-coach Clayton Donaldson raced through on goal before firing his effort wide of the left-hand the post.
Conor Branson nearly restored the lead when he met a pin-point delivery from George Smith, but his header was wide of the mark.
The Celts continued to have the better of the chances with their front three of Donaldson, Darren Stephenson and Silva looking lively.
Just three minutes before the interval, some strong hold-up play from Stephenson led to Donaldson striking from the edge of the box, forcing a diving save from the York goalkeeper.
The second half saw The Celts change formation and make several substitutions, disrupting the flow of the game.
But Farsley did have the ball in the back of the net on the hour mark when Ben Atkinson finished off a lovely team move involving Smith and Ryan Watson.
York were edging the game possession-wise and, with 20 minutes to go, the visitors went ahead from the penalty spot after Farsley’s Jack Leake was wrongly adjudged to have fouled York’s John-Lewis inside the area.
Farsley deserved at least a draw against higher league opposition, but will be buoyed by a much-improved performance. Former Farsley striker Jimmy Spencer, who left the club in January, was also in attendance.
The Celts travel to Leeds rivals Guiseley for the final pre-season workout on Saturday, ahead of the opening day National League North fixture at Rushall Diamonds on August 5.
Farsley Celtic: Luk (GK) (Allen), Leake, Smith (Milambo 61’), Branson, Missambo, Allan, Blair (Watson 46’), C.Atkinson (B.Atkinson 46’), Donaldson (Baptista), Stephenson, Silva (Carroll 46’) Unused Subs: Anyiam-Osigwe
York City: Whitley (GK), Duckworth, Howe, Cordner, Crookes, Pybus, McLaughlin, Dyson, Siziba, John-Lewis, Kouhyar (Castro 68’)
Unused Subs: Campbell, Fallowfield, Hancox, Burgess, Trialist A, Main, Barnes
Additional reporting: Josh Makin