Wednesday, March 29, 2023
HomeSportFarsley Celtic's relegation escape bid stalls in lacklustre Blyth defeat

Farsley Celtic’s relegation escape bid stalls in lacklustre Blyth defeat

By Thomas Ritchie

Farsley Celtic lost out in an important clash in the fight for survival, going down 2-1 at fellow strugglers Blyth Spartans.

Jimmy Spencer had cancelled out Connor Thomson’s opener, but the hosts would strike with three minutes remaining, JJ O’Donnell striking to hand Blyth the three points that sees them leapfrog the Celts.

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Blyth started the game on the front foot, and would take the lead inside 15 minutes with the first real threatening attack for either side. 

Corey McKeown cut in from the left, and saw his curling effort hit the upright, but if Farsley thought the danger was gone, they were wrong. Patrick Almond collected the ball on the right and delivered a superb cross to the back post where Connor Thomson was waiting to convert from close range.

That seemed to spark Farsley into life, and they almost drew level when Frank Mulhern’s curling free-kick was tipped over the crossbar by Alex Mitchell.

The Celts had further efforts on goal from Will Hayhurst, and Mulhern again, but Mitchell stood strong to save from both.

With half-time approaching the hosts came within inches of doubling their lead. Angelo Cappello saw a strike from the edge of the box deflected agonisingly wide of the upright before, from the resulting corner, Dave Robson produced a magnificent save to turn the ball away from the top-right corner.

And that would prove to be a crucial stop as within 60 seconds Farsley were level. The visitors broke down the left, and Mulhern played a terrific ball through to Jimmy Spencer who slotted home first-time to complete a clinical counter-attack.

The second half was a much scrappier affair, with Farsley’s only real chance coming to Spencer, when his effort on the turn was blocked.

The pressure on the Celts’ goal intensified, with the Spartans having a number of successive corners in the final 10 minutes.

Ultimately, that pressure would tell, JJ O’Donnell getting the run on his man at the front post and glancing home Nicky Deverdics’ delivery.

Farsley would have one final chance deep into added time, but Mulhern fired a half-volley just wide at the near post, and with it went the Celts’ chance of taking something from the game.

To compound Farsley’s misery, influential midfielder Chris Atkinson was sent off after the final whistle.

Farsley were leapfrogged in the table by Flyde and slipped to second-bottom, three points ahead of Guiseley, who were hit for six at home to promotion chasers Gateshead. The Nethermoor side have a marginally better goal difference as the battle to avoid the drop moves into its final three weeks.

Celts boss Russ Wilcox was critical of his team’s performance on Friday and said the late defeat was a tough one to take ahead of a tricky test ahead of the visit of playoff chasers Stockport on Monday:

Blyth Spartans: Mitchell, Liddle, Buddle ©, O’Donnell, McNall (Dale 65), McKeown (Barlow 78), Deverdics, Lees, Thomson, Almond, Cappello (Reid 90+1). Unused subs: Djalo, Robson.

Farsley Celtic: Robson, Turner, Digie, Leroy-Belehouan, Butroid, Hayhurst (Gratton 89), Atkinson, Syers ©, Parkin, Spencer, Mulhern. Unused subs: Trenerry (GK), Greaves, Drake, Malumo.

Attendance: 982.


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