By Steve Sharman:
Nantwich Town suffered their first away league defeat since September after a 2-1 defeat at promotion rivals Farsley Celtic.
James Lawrie netted his fifth league goal of the season with a neat header bringing the game level in the second period after Adam Clayton had given Farsley a first half lead.
But a controversial penalty awarded four minutes from time for Celtic was converted by Ben Atkinson as the hosts took all three points in a game the Dabbers deserved at least a point.
Manager Dave Cooke made just the one change from the last league outing at Matlock as Joe Mwasile replaced Callum Saunders, with the latter dropping to the bench which also contained Danny Glover and Ricardo Fuller.
It was the hosts who started the brighter as neat build up play down the right hand side resulted in a deflected effort from Clayton being brilliantly saved by Will Jaaskelainen who clawed the ball away to safety.
The keeper on loan from Crewe then comfortably saved a curling shot from Luke Parkin before the young stopper could do nothing about Clayton’s far post header as the Celtic defender found the net from Parkin’s corner to give Celtic a 17th minute lead.
Lawrie was then offered a great chance to bring his side level ten minutes later as he capitalised on a poor back pass from Jack Higgins, but the midfielder fired over the bar with just Kyle Trennery in the Farsley goal to beat.
Joe Mwasile had the Dabbers next opportunity as he cut in from the right hand side but fired a powerful left footed effort wide of the upright as Farsley went into the break one goal to the good.
It was Nantwich who began the second period the better as Sean Cooke saw his curling effort deflect inches past the far post with Trennery a helpless spectator, before Toby Mullarkey headed over from the resulting corner.
Cooke went close again not long after as he shot straight at Trennery from close range after the hosts were unable to deal with Louis Barnes cross from the left with Mwasile then seeing his shot from the edge of the box go agonisingly past the post.
Caspar Hughes’ marauding run from deep saw the Dabbers next chance but the captain was unable to keep his shot down as he fired over the bar from the edge of the box.
The introduction of Danny Glover from the bench for the Dabbers then nearly had an immediate effect as his effort was spilled by Trennery with the keeper able to gather on the second attempt.
Trennery was being kept busy at the Dabbers cranked up the pressure as he denied Joe Malkin inside the box after a teasing low cross from Lawrie, before the Farsley defence managed to deny Jamie Morgan whose low shot was deflected away to safety.
The second half dominance did eventually pay off 13 minutes from time as Lawrie rose highest to glance in Sean Cooke’s cross from the left much to the delight of the strong Dabbers following behind the goal.
Glover then nearly put his side ahead as he raced onto Hughes’ long ball but was only able to clip his effort wide before the game’s main talking point came about four minutes from time.
Following a tumble in the box from Farsley full-back Lewis Turner, referee Ben Atkinson adjudged the defender to have been fouled by Joel Stair despite strong claims from the Dabbers players that there had been no touch.
That left the referee’s name sake to step up and crash home the penalty into the top corner to give Celtic the lead and the Dabbers very little time to mount a comeback.
Cooke’s free kick was as close as Nantwich came in the dying moments but the midfielder’s effort went high over the bar as the Dabbers suffered their first away defeat in the league since the 4-0 loss to South Shields back in September.
Next up for the Dabbers is a Cheshire Senior Cup quarter-final this Tuesday as Chester visit the Weaver Stadium with a 7.45pm KO. Admission is £8 for adults, £5 for concessions and £2 for U16s.
Farsley Celtic: Trennery, Turner, Hayhurst, Higgins, Ellis (c), Clayton, Syers, C. Atkinson, Spencer (Walker 74′), Cartman (Baldwin 90′), Parkin (B. Atkinson 67′)
Subs not used: Bowers (GK), Bett
Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Morgan, Barnes, Stair, Mullarkey, Hughes (c), Mwasile (Glover 65′), Bell, Malkin (Saunders 82′), Lawrie
Subs not used: Bourne, Cotterell, Fuller
Ref: Mr B Atkinson
Photos courtesy of Jonathan White« Back to all news