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Report: Farsley Celtic 2-1 FC Halifax Town

The Citadel was open midweek for the County Cup quarter-final where National League outfit Halifax Town provided the opposition, writes Warren Smith.

After the Celt Army claimed victory at The New Bucks Head against AFC Telford at the weekend, manager Adam Lakeland wanted to turn a good result into good form as the club goes into a busy seasonal schedule.

The first twenty minutes went by rapidly as both teams sussed the game out, exchanging turns to attack the other’s goal. Come the twenty-minute mark however Halifax began to enjoy the Citadel turf with some sublime passing. Binnom-Williams possessed a zealous nature down the flank for the visitors, allowing them plenty of numbers in attack. Yet they didn’t have their shooting boots on, showcasing excellent build-up play but no end product.

With fewer and fewer touches as the half went on Farsley needed to grab the game before it got away from them. Akeel Francis took accountability for the situation, by starting a play that would alter the entire match. Navigating a swift ball to Dave Syers who aimed for the far post, didn’t score but found Nathan Cartman with little to do in front of goal, a simple touch for his fifth goal across all competitions.

The visitors in their orange tango away strip showed resolve even if this wasn’t the full capacity Halifax Town. After all, opposing manager, Pete Wild made nine changes to the starting eleven who went out against Yeovil Town at the weekend.

Halifax quickly emerged on goal with a real threat, when Trenerry left the home net open, with just moments before the half-time whistle. Gasps around the Citadel, as supporters felt the hard work would be undone. Luck on the Celt Army’s side, the strike was narrowly denied by the post, later to be scuttled away by Chris Atkinson, who was ever alert during the half. The half-time whistle goes, 1-0 to the Celtic.

Seven minutes into the second half, the visitors showed authority essentially stamping their crest on the ball, reluctantly letting us play our game. The final ball was still an issue, so they forced it within millimetres of the goal line, making it impossible to miss. A tap in was produced to level the game from a mysterious player with no name nor number on his shirt. The orange-clad goal scorer was later identified as Matt Rawson, sadly not Garfield, Ernie from Sesame Street or Arjen Robben. 1-1.

The visitors smelt blood going fully pronged with the attack. Even with the wholesale starting-eleven changes, Halifax’s squad retained their quality by bossing a long period of play after scoring. 15 minutes into the game, bodies on the pitch started to tire with Pete Wild blinking first, going to the bench to reshape his game, in turn, led Lakeland to shuffle his deck as well.

The subs couldn’t get their blood circulating in the quick enough on a cold winter night as a player collision left Halifax number eight, Jack Earing, on the deck for some time meaning a lengthy hold up in play.

Halifax retained the ball after the enforced break, but with fatigue setting in didn’t look entirely as composed as before. Giving the ball away to the Celts in the final third would be their undoing. Sensing a break was on, Jimmy Spencer delivered a scrumptious grounded ball for Ben Atkinson to slot home, his fourth for the season. Highlighting a managerial masterclass as Spencer instantly impacted the game from the bench. 70 minutes played, 2-1 to Farsley Celtic.

From that point the opposition may have already been relishing the heated seats on the team bus up the A58 back home, such were the cold conditions at this point gone 9pm. The backline seemed to have abandoned ship, pushing up. The boys were absorbing all the pressures – including a venomous freekick strike, which Halifax Town will regret, as blasting it straight at the wall proved neither advantageous nor effective.

With the passes and shots from both sides becoming less and less accurate, the referee blew the whistle after four additional minutes, allowing us passage to the next round in the West Riding County Cup, winning 2-1 on the night – in what was an exciting night as we ousted higher division opposition in the cup!

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