Farsley Celtic made it seven consecutive wins as they ground out a 2-1 victory over Stafford Rangers, writes Thomas Ritchie.
Theo Bailey-Jones had given the lowly visitors the lead, before goals from Dave Syers and Nathan Cartman turned the game around to earn a vital three points for the Celts.
While not being in the goals, it was the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division Player of the Year Jimmy Spencer who was the star of the show, picking up the ball all over the pitch to create openings, whilst the frontman also played a crucial part in the winning strike.
Farsley Celtic manager Adam Lakeland was proud of the spirit his side showed tonight, saying:
“I’ve said it numerous times in recent weeks, when we need to find another gear, when we’re questioned, when we’re tested, we do.
“That doesn’t always mean we play better, but we work harder and we find ways to cause problems.
“I felt in the second-half we controlled the game better, we played more of the game in their half of the pitch, we entered the final third more, and it’s another piece of Jimmy Spencer imagination that’s got us the win in the end.”
It was the Celts who started the game on the front foot, coming close twice as Nathan Cartman headed wide and Ben Atkinson shot over after a weaving run across the edge of the box.
The visitors were always a threat on the break, and 15 minutes in had a threatening two-on-one situation, only for Jake Charles, the grandson of Leeds United legend John Charles, to blast wide.
Stafford did then break the deadlock just after the half hour mark following a defensive mix-up, as Kyle Trenerry raced out of his box and his weak header fell to Theo Bailey-Jones who finished into the vacant goal.
Farsley started to control the ball more after going behind, and on the stroke of half-time drew level, Dave Syers rising highest to head home Will Hayhurst’s corner from six yards out.
Rangers fashioned a number of chances in the opening moments of the second-half, Tom Thorley being played in by Louis Briscoe and forcing Kyle Trenerry into making a smart save.
A glorious chance then fell to Bailey-Jones who miscued wide at the back post when it seemed easier to score.
It took a moment of ingenuity from Jimmy Spencer, who had worked tirelessly all game, to give Farsley the lead, as the Farsley forward hid behind Stafford ‘keeper Adam Siviter, waiting for him to place the ball on the ground.
Spencer then whisked the ball away, rode Siviter’s attempt to bring him down in the box, and squared to Nathan Cartman who rolled home his 15th goal of the season, with the Stafford goalkeeper left wishing the ground would swallow him up.
With 10 minutes remaining, the Celts should have killed the game off. Siviter’s hand on Hayhurst’s cross went only as far as Danny Ellis who saw his header blocked, before Dave Syers fired over from the edge of the box.
However, it was not to prove a costly miscue, as Stafford failed to test Trenerry in the remaining moments, with Farsley securing the three points to remain top of the division.
Farsley Celtic: Trenerry, B. Atkinson, Hayhurst, Higgins, Ellis ©, Clayton, Syers, C. Atkinson, Spencer, Cartman (Parkin 88), Walker (Boateng 88). Unused subs: Bower (GK), Baldwin, Bett.
Stafford Rangers: Siviter, Bignot, Thandi, L. Jones ©, Burns, A. Jones, Bailey-Jones, Thorley (Mills 76), Charles, Sherratt (Davies 72), Briscoe (Cuff 72). Unused subs: Haworth, Williams.
MOTM: Jimmy Spencer
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