Words: John Baron
Photos: Simon Cullingworth
It seems churlish to just blame bad luck on Farsley Celtic’s current predicament at the bottom of the table.
There are a number of reasons both on and off the pitch why things haven’t gone to plan this season, but it’s also true that everything seems to go against you when you’re struggling.
Yesterday’s defeat to Spennymoor (and the midweek loss at Bradford) are prime examples of that. No points collected, yet arguably it could have been four.
The match had everything – goalmouth scrambles, hitting the woodwork, missed chances, a fluffed penalty, two sendings off and a freak own goal.
The first chance actually fell to Farsley, Spennymoor’s keeper doing well to tip over Adam Clayton’s header from a second-minute corner.
But within 60 seconds a speculative shot in blustery conditions by former Guiseley frontman Jordan Thewlis rebounded off the bar, before hitting hapless Farsley keeper Kyle Trennery and nestling in the back of the net. Farsley’s entire season was summed up in one bizarre moment.
The freak goal clearly left The Celts shellshocked and Spennymoor could have wrapped the game up in the following 20 minutes, with the pacy Thewlis causing all kinds of problems.
Just as the home side seemed to have weathered the storm, an unmarked Thewlis fired home Spennymoor’s second on the half-hour mark.
Farsley appeared to receive an unlikely lifeline in the 37th minute when Luke Parkin was fouled in the area, only for Spennymoor’s keeper to save Will Hayhurst’s soft penalty kick down to his left, with the follow-up scrambled clear.
Farsley trailed 2-0 at the break on a difficult pitch. One Farsley fan in the main stand described the performance as ‘torturous’.
But the second half was an improvement, despite talismanic striker Jimmy Spencer being needlessly sent off after the referee decided he had lashed out at an opponent. Spencer looks likely to miss four critical games, although Farsley have said they might appeal the decision.
Spennymoor captain Jamie Curtis was later sent off for a second bookable offence to even the match up at 10 versus 10.
The lively Jacob Gratton’s terrific 73rd-minute strike gave Celtic hope, before Jerome Greaves sliced a good chance wide.
The game opened up in the final stages, with both sides missing guilt-edged chances. And deep into injury time the home side were left wondering how they didn’t score after a desperate scramble which saw the post rattled and the follow-up cleared off the line.
Missed chances again cost Farsley dear – and with Telford losing and Guiseley’s game postponed, Farsley again missed the opportunity to move off the bottom.
Recent improved performances need to be consistently translated into results, and you do start to feel chances are starting to run out. While Farsley are just two points behind local rivals Guiseley, the Nethermoor outfit now have three games in hand and a superior goal difference.
After the match, Farsley boss Russ Wilcox lamented his side’s lacklustre first-half performance:
Sadly, the game was again marred by some unsavoury scenes between rival ‘fans’ behind the goal in the second half, which resulted in police being called.
Crowd trouble has increased across the lower leagues this season and it isn’t just a problem facing Farsley Celtic (which works hard to be a family club), but it might be prudent for the club to consider bringing in segregation at The Citadel. It will cost money, but arguably it’s the lesser of two evils.
Farsley Celtic: Trenerry, Vaughan (Gratton 45), Clayton, Digie, Butroid, Turner, Syers, Parkin (Malumo 81), Greaves, Hayhurst, Spencer. Subs not used: Westcarr, Drake, Sutton.
Spennymoor Town: Amissah, Anderson, Tait, Curtis, Pye, Hall, Spokes (Mason 81), Ramshaw, Taylor, Thewlis (Oyibo 81), Preston (Ofosu 90+2). Subs not used: Eve, Hindson.