Words: Mark Rawlinson
Photos: John McEvoy
Farsley secured a big three points in their first game for 15 days, thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Darlington.
Despite the visitors enjoying the lions’ share of play in the first half, they were unable to convert their chances, and Adam Clayton’s 52nd minute header turned out to be all the Celts needed to collect their first win of the new year, in their first match of 2021.
Adam Lakeland was delighted with his team and the result, saying:
“I thought the players were absolutely tremendous from start to finish. I thought we deserved the win tonight, it was a superb team performance and a great way to start the year.
“Darlington are a good side and have got a lot of good players, particularly in attacking areas and you’ve got to manage that and reduce the threats the pose and tactically, I thought our players were absolutely outstanding tonight.
“We reduced them to two opportunities from distance and Drenchy has made a couple of top saves but I think their keeper has made more and I think we had the best chances throughout the game.”
Despite chasing the game for much of the opening 45 minutes, it was actually Farsley who started the brighter and on-loan Paddy Lane sliced an early effort just wide on two minutes and then on five minutes, he pulled the ball back to Jimmy Spencer from a wide angle, but the forward shot over the target.
On 10 minutes Steven Drench, returning from injury, had to stand up strong to stop an effort from winger Erico Sousa. Then five minutes later, the goalkeeper made a finger-tip save to keep out Adam Campbell’s header.
The Celts almost landed themselves in trouble though as Drench and Clayton collided in an attempt to clear danger, but Dave Syers showed all his experience to get in the right position to prevent the Darlington forward a shot on goal.
After the end-to-end start, the game settled a little and then on 37 minutes, Chris Atkinson attempted a first-time strike from long range but Darlington keeper Jonathon Saltmer was able to palm it away.
The side from County Durham wasted a fantastic chance two minutes before the break as Jarrett Rivers crossed to Luke Charman, but with half of the goal to aim at he fired wide.
The game’s key moment came seven minutes into the second half as Will Hayhurst’s brilliant free kick picked out captain Clayton, and he powered his header into the top corner to give Farsley the advantage.
The next chance fell to Darlington on 66 minutes, as Adam Campbell whipped in a low free kick which took a touch off an attacker, but Drench was equal to it, with the experienced goalkeeper making a superb save down to his side.
Then on 74 minutes, a mistake from the visitors gave possession to Ben Atkinson and he in turn put Parkin through on goal, but the former Leeds United trainee came off second best in a one-on-one situation with Saltmer.
Former Newcastle United striker Charman had a couple of late chances to grab a late draw for Darlington; his first was blocked before Drench made another great save down low, to earn his side the victory.
Farsley Celtic: Drench, Richards, Hayhurst, C Atkinson, Allan, Clayton, Lane (B Atkinson 71), Johnston, Spencer (Charles 85), Syers, Parkin (Barton 83).
Subs not used: Trennery, Ellis.
Darlington: Saltmer, Liddle, Wheatley, Hunt, Hatfield, Campbell (Maguire 75), Rivers, Sousa (O’Neill 83), Charman, McMahon, Reid.
Subs not used: Watson, Storey, Atkinson.
Referee: Michael Crusham.