Report: Farsley Celtic 1-1 Grantham Town
By Mark Rawlinson
Farsley Celtic climbed to the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division table after sharing the points with Grantham Town.
Jimmy Spencer’s seventh minute goal put the Celts on course but after a second half red card to Farsley’s Ben Atkinson, Charlie Ward managed to net an 84th minute leveller for the Gingerbreads.
The Celts go top of the league on head-to-head record, with second placed South Shields also on 53 points and on equal goal difference. Nantwich, not in action today, are also third on 53 points with Warrington Town, who suffered defeat at Scarborough Athletic, are fourth on 52 points.
On his return after missing the last three games through suspension, Spencer got Farsley off to the perfect start. Charlie Ward sent an under-hit back-pass to goalkeeper Jordan Wright and the former Mansfield Town front man nipped in to put Celtic ahead.
On 12 minutes, Spencer could have doubled his tally but his stooping header from Lewis Turner’s cross was saved by Wright.
With the gusty wind behind them, Farsley continued to press for a second and on 25 minutes Paul Walker’s cross found Dave Syers, but Wright was once again on hand to keep the effort out.
Then Nathan Cartman linked up well with Syers whose shot rebounded to Ben Atkinson and he fired home, but the assistant’s referee was up for offside.
Just before the break, Syers once again found Ben Atkinson but from a narrow angle, he fired across the goalmouth as Grantham held on.
Farsley had further chances to extend their lead before the break, with Dave Syers firstly
Syers then had another good chance early in the second half, but his low shot clipped the bottom of the post before Spencer headed the following cross just wide.
The hosts had strong shouts for a penalty waved away on 54 minutes when Walker appeared to be tripped by Tom Ward, but the protests were waved away.
Celtic continued to struggle to convert the chances they were creating and on 63 minutes, Spencer broke before playing a one-two with Ben Atkinson. The former then took the ball around two defenders but goalkeeper Wright parried around the post.
Four minutes later, Paul Walker and Spencer linked up as the ball again fell to Walker but this time his shot was blocked behind for a corner.
With the wind now behind them, Town looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson quickly broke down the right wing before seeing his shot fly just wide of the upright.
The game’s turning point came on 75 minutes when Atkinson reacted to Tom Ward’s poor challenge and was sent off by referee David Jones. Ward was cautioned for the dangerous foul.
Grantham were now in the ascendancy and they pinched a point with six minutes left as skipper Charlie Ward latched onto a free kick to nod past Kyle Trenerry.
The 10-men of Farsley continued to push for the winner with firstly Luke Parkin firing just over from 20 yards before the substitute then found Syers, but his header was deflected wide.
A frustrating afternoon for the Celts but nevertheless, the club’s unbeaten record in the league now stands at an incredible 15 games.
Two huge games are now on the horizon, away at Scarborough Athletic on January 19 before a trip to South Shield on January 26.
Farsley Celtic: Trenerry, L Turner, Baldwin (Parkin 83’), C Atkinson, Higgins, Clayton, B Atkinson, Syers, Spencer, Cartman, Walker.
Subs not used: Ellis, Cham, Hill Bowers.
Grantham Town: Wright, Barrows, Luto, Bell-Toxtle, C Ward, Salt, Fortnam-Tomlinson, T Ward (Yenibertz 78’), Durkin, Siddons, Thompson.
Subs not used: Bastos, Jaquite, Nassunculo, Gibbons.