Words: Niall Togher. Video: Tom Ritchie
Farsley Celtic got their FA trophy adventure under way at the Horsfall Stadium, beating local rivals Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-1.
Farsley were forced to sit in at times, Max Dearnley making a number of important saves, but were always a threat on the break and good value for the victory. The result came despite a raft of injuries and suspensions stretching an already small squad – and the Celts were further rocked when skipper Dave Syers withdrew shortly before kick-off
Another spectacular strike from Bobby Johnson broke the deadlock in a first half of limited chances for both teams, before Kian Scales’ finish booked Farsley’s place in the FA Trophy third round.
It was the hosts who sought to dictate the game in the opening 20 minutes, controlling possession, but neither side could carve out any real chances.
However, it would be Avenue who threatened first. Jacob Blyth’s half-volley forced an acrobatic save from Max Dearnley to keep the game level, before Dearnley had to be at his best again minutes later.
Former Farsley man Will Longbottom played a perfectly weighted pass through to Brad Dockerty whose low strike was denied by the legs of Dearnley, before Richman fired over the rebound for Bradford, who were in the ascendency.
The Celts were hit by yet another injury, when striker Osadebe limped off to be replaced by Thabang Dube in the 22nd minute.
But Farsley would respond well, Lewis Butroid doing well down the left and delivering a dangerous cross that eventually fell to Kian Scales at the back post, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Farsley’s tails were up, and they would find the breakthrough on the brink of halftime.
Bobby Johnson’s inch-perfect free-kick nestled into the top left corner leaving George Sykes-Kenworthy in the hosts’ goal with no chance.
Farsley would continue to threaten after the interval, Kian Scales cutting in from the right-hand side onto his left foot, forcing a smart save from Sykes-Kenworthy.
Just moments later, Scales would make no mistake as he doubled Farsley’s lead. Sykes-Kenworthy lost out to Carlton Ubaezuonu in the air from Dube’s delivery, Scales collecting the loose ball and keeping his composure to drill home.
Bradford would push to get back in the game with Jamie Spencer and Blyth both going close, whilst the Celts could have put the game to bed on the break, Dube squandering a good opportunity when he hit the post when through on goal.
Mark Bower’s side would give themselves a lifeline with two minutes remaining, Dearnley unable to claim a delivery from the left, and Will Lancaster was there to make him pay and give the hosts hope for a late comeback.
However, it wasn’t to be for Bradford as Farsley took the bragging rights in the first West Yorkshire derby of the season.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Sykes-Kenworthy, Odunston, Staunton, Spencer (Hopper 75), Lancaster, Fielding, Longbottom, Richman, Blyth, Dockerty (Church 79), Angell (Preston 56). Unused subs: Lund, Havern.
Farsley Celtic: Dearnley, Turner, Butroid, Johnson, Butler, Allan, Scales, Atkinson (c), Osadebe (Dube 22), Ubaezuonu, Parkin. Unused subs: Assenso, Clayton, Mason (GK).
Boss Russ Wilcox was delighted with his patched-up team’s performance, particularly given their recent poor record on the road which had seen them concede 13 in the last three away games.
Returning defender Andy Butler hasn’t trained since 8 October but came in at the last minute when skipper Dave Syers picked up an injury before kickoff.
He rued Farsley’s missed chances and decision-making in the final third but praised a heard-working team performance against a well-organised home side:
Tuesday sees The Celts return to league action when they entertain high-flying Chester at the Citadel. Tickets are available here.