Report: Warrington Town 0-2 Farsley Celtic
Report by Mark Rawlinson.
Farsley got their 2018/19 campaign off to the ideal start with a 2-0 win at the much fancied Warrington Town.
First half goals from Nathan Turner and debutant Will Hayhurst was enough to see off the Yellows, who also reached the NPL Premier Division Play-Offs last season.
The only slight disappointment from the opening day victory was the dismissal of headline signing James Spencer, who picked up his first yellow card, just four minutes into his competitive debut for Farsley.
The former Notts County and Mansfield Town frontman was on the wrong end of a 50/50 shirt-pull call and passed the ball away, but referee Alan Bennett pulled out an early yellow when a quiet talking to might well have done the job.
The Celts though were on the front foot early on after netting the opening goal on 13 minutes. Paul Walker played in Nathan Turner and the midfielder picked out the bottom corner with a precise strike to put the visitors ahead.
It could have been 2-0 on 21 minutes when Spencer linked up well with Nathan Cartman, with the latter forcing a good save from hosts keeper Tony McMillan.
The Wire had their first real chance three minutes later when Celts shot-stopper Ed Hall, also on his debut for the club, was drawn away from his line, but attacker Josh Amis couldn’t make the most of his chance as the ball was scrambled clear.
Farsley were continuing to create the better chances and the lead should have been doubled on 26 minutes via a well-worked set-piece. A free kick was lifted into the box, before being headed back across goal by Danny Ellis to Cartman who in turn found Spencer, but he shot straight at the goalkeeper.
But it was 2-0 10 minutes later as Hayhurst netted a beauty on his Farsley debut with a crisp strike from the outside of the box.
Wire had two chances to pull a goal back, but both Mark Roberts and Tony Gray were unable to worry Hall, meaning the Celts went into the break two goals to the good.
The next dangerous chance also fell to the hosts on the hour mark. Adam Hughes was allowed a free header from a corner which he powered goalwards but it was blocked on the line by Turner who headed the shot onto the crossbar, before it bounced on the line before being scrambled away, much to the Celts’ relief.
A couple of minutes later, Farsley almost made it 3-0, with centre-half pairing Jack Higgins and Ellis both heading just wide from corners, as Warrington held on in the tie.
Then on 81 minutes, came the game’s most controversial moment. Spencer was flagged for offside and kicked the ball on just after the whistle had gone, somewhat inadvisably after receiving a yellow card from a stringent referee earlier in the game. It was little surprise then that the forward received his marching orders following a second yellow, meaning he will miss the Bank Holiday clash with Hednesford Town.
Three minutes later, former York City frontman Richard Brodie took a hopeful tumble in the box which was penalised the other way by the officials. After unleashing a torrent of foul-mouthed abuse at both the referee and his assistant, Brodie was booked for simulation.
Despite their one-man disadvantage, the Celts held form to secure the three points on the opening day.
Warrington Town: McMillan, Dugga, Carden (Vassallo 48), Beeley, Roberts, Hughes, Evans, Garrity, Gray (Brodie 67), Amis, Dunn (Caton 67). Subs not used: Hynes, George.
Farsley Celtic: Hall, L Turner, Hayhurst (Baldwin 90), Higgins, Ellis, Clayton, C Atkinson, N Turner, Spencer, Cartman (Watson 78), Walker (B Atkinson 69). Subs not used: Trenerry, Bett
Referee: Alan Bennett