Report: Moors 2 Farsley Celtic 1

Moors ended the 2022/23 season with a fourth successive victory but still missed out on snatching a place in the play-offs after a heart-breaking late twist on the final day of National League North.

Jason Ainsley’s men started the day in 12th spot in the table but rose as high as sixth by half time after going in front against Farsley Celtic and were still holding on to seventh place on 89 minutes.

However, last-gasp goals from Scarborough Athletic and Gloucester City saw them leapfrog Moors in the table and the 2-1 victory over The Celt Army at The Brewery Field was in vain in the end.

Ainsley had named an unchanged sixteen after the excellent win at Banbury United seven days earlier and Moors were quickly on the front foot against Farsley, who arrived in the North East knowing they needed a point to guarantee survival.

It took a while for Moors to get into their stride but once they did they began causing problems for their visitors, with John Lufudu once again a threat down the right-hand side.

The breakthrough arrived on 25 minutes. Paul Blackett turned well just inside the Farsley half and slipped a lovely ball through for Glen Taylor and the front man confidently lashed home his 23rd National League North goal of the campaign.

Taylor could have added a second ten minutes later when he got on the end of Lufudu’s cross, but his header went straight at keeper Max Dearnley, while the front man then slipped a great ball across goal from the right which just evaded the slide of Blackett.

As minds wandered to results elsewhere and the tension inside the stadium grew, Farsley began the second half strongly and had a couple of half chances to have brought the game level.

Ainsley reacted by introducing Mark Anderson – and it was a substitute which was to pay off handsomely. The midfielder was quickly into the midst of the action and his shot from the edge of the area was brilliantly turned over by Dearnley.

Anderson tried again moments later with a curling effort which was also pushed aside by Dearnley, while the inspired stopper also got down to his left superbly to parry a low curling shot from Blackett.

On 66 minutes Dearnley was helpless to stop Anderson firing Moors into a 2-0 lead though. Lufudu burst into the box from the right, wriggled his way to the byline before cutting the ball back across the box where it fell kindly for Anderson who rammed it through the crowded area and into the net.

The nerves were starting to jangle as a place in the top seven which had seemed so far away at kick-off suddenly became a real possibly for Moors. And that showed on the pitch as the visitors – all but safe thanks to results elsewhere – began to play with more confidence.

On 70 minutes Celtic grabbed a goal back. The ball was slipped through for Theo Williams on the left of the area and he took a touch before drilling an excellent finish beyond Flatters.

Farsley kept coming, and Flatters was forced into a magnificent save on 76 minutes when he acrobatically fingertipped Farsley skipper Andy Butler’s header over the bar.

Moors fans began to celebrate when news filtered through that they had nudged back into the top seven late on but the final twists went against Ainsley’s side and the victory wasn’t enough.

Full Time: Moors 2 Farsley Celtic 1

Moors: Flatters; Mbeka, Curtis, Ledger; Lufudu, Ross, Ramshaw, Shanks (Anderson 59), Kendall; Blackett (McKeown 87), Taylor.
Subs not used: Greaves, Angell, Day.

Farsley Celtic: Dearnley; Clayton, Butler, Allan; Scales, Turner (Ubaezuono 66), Atkinson, Devine, Butroid (Syers 72); Williams (Muggleton 84), Mulhern.
Subs not used: Mogan, Jessop.

Referee: John Mulligan

Attendance: 1,776 (90 Farsley Celtic)

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