Words: Thomas Ritchie
Photos: John McEvoy firstname.lastname@example.org
Farsley Celtic slipped to a third consecutive defeat on Saturday, as promotion favourites AFC Fylde ran out 2-0 winners at Mill Farm.
The opening 45 minutes were evenly contested, but second-half strikes from Nathan Shaw and Ben Tollitt secured all three points for the hosts, who continued their 100% start to the new campaign.
Farsley started on the front foot and carved out the first opening inside three minutes, Jordan Richards delivering a first-time cross for Jimmy Spencer who was denied by Chris Neal from point-blank range.
Kurt Willoughby then had the ball in the back of the net for the hosts, only to be adjudged offside, before Steven Drench was forced into action to deny Danny Philliskirk.
The clearest opportunity in the first-half for Fylde came on the stroke of half-time as Kurt Willoughby drifted into space at the back post, only for his header to be superbly saved by Drench.
However, the deadlock was finally broken 10 minutes after the break as the Coasters benefited from a kind ricochet, the ball dropping to Nathan Shaw who rifled home from 12-yards out.
The Celt Army responded well after falling behind, and Adam Clayton came agonisingly close to levelling the scores almost immediately as his header cannoned off the left upright and to safety.
And another big opportunity was then squandered when Danny Ellis crossed for Tom Allan in the six-yard box, but the big centre-half could only direct his header straight at Fylde shot-stopper Neal.
With Farsley pushing for the equaliser, the hosts had a couple of chances to kill the game off on the break, but an inch-perfect last-ditch challenge from Adam Clayton denied Jack Sampson, and a terrific one-on-one save from Drench denied substitute Ben Tollitt.
But Tollitt was not left to rue that missed chance, as with four minutes remaining he stepped up and curled a free-kick from just outside the box into the bottom corner, killing off any hopes of a Farsley comeback.
AFC Fylde: Neal, Burke, Conlan, Whitmore, Philliskirk, Sanders, Haughton (Mondal 77), Shaw, Perkins, Sampson, Willoughby (Tollitt 62). Unused subs: Hulme, Lussey, Ogle.
Farsley Celtic: Drench, Richards, West (Syers 80), Allan, Ellis ©, Clayton, B. Atkinson (Goldthorp 87), C. Atkinson, Johnston, Walton (Charles 69), Spencer. Unused subs Parkin, Smith-Brown.