By John Baron
Farsley Celtic fell into the National League North relegation zone with just two games of the season remaining following a 2-0 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Blyth Spartans.
Defeat leaves the Celts occupying the final relegation spot, with Blyth leapfrogging them thanks to their superior goal difference.
In truth Farsley only have themselves to blame for their latest defeat. Missed chances in a tight first half came back to haunt the home side, who then gave away a sloppy goal at the start of the second period.
The Celts will need to be better in both penalty boxes if they’re to avoid the drop, although their fate is now out of their hands as they enter the final ten days of the season.
It was the away side who started the game brighter, with Cedric Main coming close minutes in after getting a shot off from the left hand side.
Moments later, a free kick for Blyth almost left Farsley a goal behind after Nicky Deverdics’ delivery bounced just wide of the top corner.
Russ Wilcox’s side slowly found their footing in the game, with the lively Frank Mulhern sending a ball in behind the Blyth defence, Theo Williams latched onto it but his effort dribbled wide of the post.
Farsley came close again after Danny Devine’s strike from outside the box whistled wide of the post.
Unsurprisingly it was a cagey first half, with the game having so much at stake for both sides in the relegation battle.
Devine was proving the danger man for Farsley in the first half, coming close again but Alex Mitchell was there to make the save. Minutes later the home side had another great chance however Kian Scales’s effort flew past the bottom corner when he should have hit the target.
A moment of magic from Mulhern almost saw Farsley take the lead, after a couple kick ups and a weaving run his effort was parried back into danger, but Williams and Lewis Turner got in each others way to squander a huge chance.
But for all of Farsley’s chances late in the half the sides went into the break 0-0.
It was the worst possible start to the second half for Farsley as Blyth made it 1-0 straight after the restart, following some sloppy defending which saw the home side fail to clear their lines. Main put a ball across the box and Jordan Hickey tucked it away into the bottom right corner.
There was almost an instant response for Farsley as Tom Allan rose highest from the corner but his effort crashed off the crossbar.
The second half went from bad to worse for the home side, after a great delivery from the left-hand side found Hickey, whose header flew into the back of net to score his second and put Blyth 2-0 up.
Farsley were beginning to look frustrated after the second had gone in, creating a very limited amount of chances and being wasteful in the final third with about 25 minutes to go.
There was a mix up at the back for Blyth as miscommunication between the keeper and defender saw the ball bounce out to Adam Clayton but his lobbed effort went just wide of the open goal.
It was so almost three for Blyth, as some fantastic footwork from Main saw his right footed strike smash off the crossbar. A huge let off for the home side.
Wilcox’s side were pushing with 10 minutes to go, causing Blyth problems from set pieces, but just missing that clinical touch in the final third.
Blyth almost got their third after Spellman had a great chance, but his strike was tipped over by Max Dearnley.
Farsley entertain Gloucester on Saturday in the final home game of the season. The game is now a must-win for Russ Wilcox’s side as the trap door leading to the Northern Premier League inches open.
Farsley: Dearnley, Scales, Butroid, Turner (Jessop 67’), Butler, Allan, Devine, Clayton, Syers © (Muggleton 82’), Mulhern, Williams. Subs not used: Atkinson, Morgan, Ubaezuonu.