By John Baron
Additional reporting: Thomas Ritchie
A superb 30-yard free-kick from Frank Mulhern gave relegation-haunted Farsley Celtic a vital three points against fourth-placed Brackley Town at The Citadel last night.
The win leaves the Celts four points clear of the National League North drop zone, with five games remaining.
It was no more than the Celts deserved as they bounced back after a disappointing defeat against Kidderminster on Saturday.
The home side started much the stronger, and had numerous early chances against a leggy Brackley side.
Kian Scales almost gets the Celts off to a flier in the first minute, but his stunning strike from range crashed against the crossbar and to safety. After eight minutes Dave Syers’ long throw came back out to him, and his driven effort was turned behind by busy Brackley keeper Danny Lewis.
A minute later Tom Allan was the latest to come close, thwarted by an excellent save low down from Lewis and Andy Butler headed inches over from the resulting corner.
After 11 minutes Farsley finally broke the deadlock. Syers slid in Frank Mulhern, who played an excellent ball across goal for Theo Williams to roll home.
Despite Farsley’s dominance it was the visitors who created a big chance 21 minutes in. The Celts failed to deal with a corner and it eventually dropped to Callum Stead in space, but he got his finish all wrong as skewed his shot wide.
Farsley were still creating chances. Theo Williams turned his man superbly in the box, but flashed his strike just wide of the upright.
On the strike of half time the visitors were back level. Shepherd Murombedzi firing in a low shot from the edge of the box which somehow found the bottom corner of Max Dearnley’s goal.
The second half was a much quieter affair, with Brackley having more of the ball but creating little.
In the 58th minute the winning goal came thanks to a touch of class. Frank Mulhern’s free-kick from 30 yards out nestled in the bottom corner, with a hand from Lewis not enough to deny the frontman’s superb strike.
Brackley created a couple of chances shortly afterwards. Max Dearnley produced an excellent save to deny Matwasa’s half-volley that seemed destined for the top corner and two minutes later Martin Woods’ strike from distance took a deflection just wide.
But Farsley’s defence stood strong, throwing bodies in the way of a late chance for the visitors.
Brackley’s Murombedzi received a second caution in stoppage time to seal an important Farsley triumph ahead of their Good Friday trip to fellow strugglers Boston United.
Farsley boss Russ Wilcox praised his side’s ‘outstanding’ performance and said the game should have been won inside the first 20 minutes.
Skipper Dave Syers said the win boosts the Celts’ confidence ahead of two massive games on Good Friday and Easter Monday:
Farsley Celtic: Dearnley, Scales, Butroid, Devine, Butler, Turner, Allan, Atkinson, Syers © (Clayton 71), Mulhern (Ubaezuonu 85), Williams (Muggleton 79). Subs not used: Jessop, Morgan (GK).
Brackley Town: Lewis, Bates (Amantchi 59), Calder, Murombedzi, Cullinane-Liburd, Preston, Woods ©, Stead, Rooney (Armson 70), Matwasa, Smart (Carline 46). Subs not used: Richards, Robinson.