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Report: Farsley Celtic 2-1 Radcliffe

Farsley Celtic got the new season off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory over Radcliffe in the Emirates FA Cup.

A first-half double from Jimmy Spencer put Farsley in command before Kole Hall made it a nervous finish for the hosts, who ultimately hung onto their lead to progress.

Adam Lakeland was delighted to see his side come through the tie, as he said: “It was a really tough game, I’ve never really been comfortable with an FA Cup game being the first game of the season, and I don’t think it’s great.

“They’re three or four competitive games into their season and that makes a difference, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at, how good your players are, that makes a difference. The longer the game went on, physically they were stronger than us, and we’re a fit side.

“In the end, it was a real slog for us, but credit to the players, massive credit to the players in fact, for seeing it through.”

It was the first competitive game either side had played behind closed doors, and whilst it may have taken some of the magic away, it didn’t show on the pitch.

And it took just eight minutes for Farsley to take the lead, Tom Allan crossing for Jimmy Spencer who brought it down with a superb first touch before lashing the ball inside the far post.

It then took some terrific last-ditch defending from the visitors to prevent Farsley from doubling their lead, as Joel Byrom directed Joe West’s cross towards the top corner before it was cleared off the line.

Just after the half-hour mark Radcliffe made their first real foray forward, and Steven Drench had to be alert to block a strike from Matthew Crothers that took an awkward bounce off the slick surface.

Despite the Boro growing into the game as the half progressed, it was Farsley who grabbed the second just before the interval. Spencer’s relentless harrying of the defence saw him win the ball off a dithering defender before he kept his cool to slot home.

Radcliffe started the second-half much brighter than they did the first, and should have pulled a goal back when Andrew Owens was left unmarked at the far post, but the frontman was unable to direct his header on target.

Luca Navarro then spurned a big chance as he missed a one-on-one opportunity, however, he soon put that right as he delivered an excellent cross for Kole Hall who tapped home less than 60 seconds after entering the game, to set up an intriguing final 30 minutes.

It was Farsley who had the next big opportunity and Cameron Belford had to make a terrific shot to keep his side in the game, producing a finger-tip save to deny Tyler Walton’s header from six-yards out.

In reality though, Radcliffe had created little going forward after they pulled a goal back and Farsley were able to see out the remaining minutes, with Danny Ellis in particular imperious at the back.

The draw for the next round will take place at 1 pm on Monday.

Farsley Celtic: Drench, Richards, West, Allan, Ellis ©, Clayton, Byrom (B. Atkinson 72), C. Atkinson, Spencer, Parkin (Walton 68), Hayhurst (Charles 88). Unused subs: Kelly, Syers.

Radcliffe: Belford, Obeng, Swaby-Neavin, Miller, Royal, Fikula (Hall 60), Navarro, Lenigan, Owens (Cole 66), Akpa-Akpro, Crothers © (McKnight 75).

Referee: Ed Duckworth

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