Report: Spennymoor Town 2-1 Farsley Celtic
Despite a terrific, battling performance, the new season began with a 2-1 defeat to promotion favourites Spennymoor Town.
Farsley were forced to play over 50 minutes with 10 men following Steven Drench’s dismissal, and despite falling 2-0 behind almost fought back to snatch a point.
And a point may well have been secured when Jimmy Spencer appeared to be tripped in the box in the 90th minute, but Farsley’s protestations were ignored and the hosts ultimately hung on for the three points.
Despite playing uphill in the first-half, it was the Celt Army who had the first big chance after a slick one-touch move down the left culminated in Joe West crossing for Jimmy Spencer, whose header struck the crossbar and bounced down onto the line before it was cleared.
Less than three minutes later the hosts had struck the opening blow when the ball dropped kindly to Rob Ramshaw in the box, and he made no mistake as he fired past Steven Drench.
Then came the big moment in the game, as Tyler Forbes found himself through on goal with Drench racing out to close him down and making a fantastic save with what appeared to be his knee.
The referee initially signalled for a corner, and around a minute after doing so decided to consult with his assistant. The decision reached was that Drench had handled the ball outside the box, and he was dismissed.
That saw Sam Kelly enter the game for his Farsley debut, and the young shot-stopper gave a very assured display in his first senior appearance.
However, what looked as though it could be the decisive blow came just before the hour mark, as Ben McKenna delivered a terrific cross for Glen Taylor to glance home and double his side’s advantage.
McKenna could then have registered himself only to be denied by an excellent save from Kelly, before Taylor blasted the follow-up wildly over.
That seemed to give the 10 men a second lease of life, and Spennymoor ‘keeper Dale Eve had to make a tremendous double save to deny Spencer and then Charles, before a third chance fell to Jordan Richards who fired inches over.
With seven minutes remaining Farsley’s persistence was rewarded as Jake Charles, with his first goal for the club, halved the deficit, Ben Atkinson keeping the ball alive for Charles to swivel and finish from six-yards out.
Then came another huge moment of controversy, Spencer brilliantly winning the ball on the by-line and breaking into the box before being clipped from behind by Scott McClean, only for the referee to deem that no offence had been committed.
Farsley had one final chance as Tom Allan headed narrowly over from a Joel Byrom corner deep into added time, and the hosts held on for an opening night win.
Spennymoor Town: Eve, Forbes, Curtis ©, Buddle, McClean, Kennedy (Moke 75), Spencer, McKenna (Boon 90), Ramshaw, Thompson (Hall 46), Taylor. Unused subs: Norton, Anderson.
Farsley Celtic: Drench, Richards, West (B. Atkinson 58), Allan, Ellis ©, Clayton, Byrom, C. Atkinson, Spencer, Walton (Kelly 41), Hayhurst (Charles 58). Unused subs: Syers, Parkin.