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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Farsley Celtic

Hayhurst (78) (penalty)

Hednesford Town

Davies (46), Hollis (86)

(0) 1

(0) 2



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Michael Howard




Whitby Town (A) 1.9.18

The Pitmen's Jekyll and Hyde start to the new season continued this afternoon as they chalked up their second away in succession to provide the perfect response to their weekend defeat at home to Gainsborough Trinity with victory at Farsley Celtic's Throstle Nest


After falling somewhat short at Keys Park on Saturday, manager Rob Smith rung the changes to his misfiring side ahead of their trip to West Yorkshire. Out went Matt Dodd, Joe Fitzpatrick and Josh Craddock, replaced by Jermain Hollis, Jed Davies and Nathan Fox, all making their full debuts for the Pitmen this season. However, there was to be one more enforced change to the side just before kick-off, as Sam Griffiths pulled up in the warm-up and was replaced by Fitzpatrick


Farsley - play-off semi-finalists last term after returning to step three the previous season - had built upon last season's success with further signings of intent. With considerable step two experience already at his disposal, manager Adam Lakeland had brought in established performers such as Will Hayhurst (Warrington Town), Jack Higgins (Warrington Town) and Ed Hall (Bradford Park Avenue) to add to his ranks. They had recorded a highly impressive 4-1 win over South Shields the previous week to add to their opening day win over Warrington to go into this afternoon's Bank Holiday encounter with a 100% record


Farsley were the more attacking of the two sides in the opening ten minutes, sending over a succession of crosses into the Hednesford penalty area without success. A brisk wind was blowing into the face of young keeper Josef Bursik, who found taking goal-kicks difficult with the ball constantly dancing around in the air


Bursik's first save of the afternoon came in the eleventh minute, as he did well to get behind a swirling, dipping effort from Nathan Turner after the midfielder had struck a firm shot at him from twenty-five yards out


Two minutes later, the Pitmen tested Bursik's opposite number Hall for the first time, as Matt Curley's cross was looped towards goal by Dan Cockerline's header, with Hall doing well to pluck the ball out of the air and save


A quickly-taken corner from Davies almost caught Farsley out on twenty minutes, as his pass to Fitzpatrick caught the home defence napping. The midfielder scuffed his shot at goal, with the ball bobbling into the path of centre-back Charlie Gatter. Despite being in a great position, Gatter could only turn the shot wide of the near post and waste the Pitmen's best chance of the game so far


Indeed, this was the away side's best spell of the game to date, as they controlled the play inside the Farsley half and continued to create openings. On twenty-four minutes, a deep cross from Callam Mendez-Jones found Cockerline once more, who got the better of Danny Ellis to head tamely into the arms of Hall


Michael Howard won and took a free-kick for the Pitmen out on the left wing on twenty-five minutes, whipping in a cross that skipper Stefan Galinski headed powerfully towards goal, only to be denied by an acrobatic save from Hall to turn the header over the bar for a corner kick


Bursik made a similarly acrobatic stop for the Pitmen on thirty-four minutes, making a flying save to his right to tip Ryan Watson's rising shot away for a Farsley corner


Further pressure was applied to the Hednesford defence through successive corner kicks, with Bursik twice equal to Farsley's attack with confident and authoritative goalkeeping


Another fine stop from the England U18 International followed on forty minutes, as he once again denied Watson the opening goal of the afternoon as he positioned himself perfectly to claim the midfielder's long-range effort


The first half may have been goalless, but there had been plenty of positives for both sides in an entertaining encounter. However, the Pitmen were to change the game as a contest in spectacular fashion just a few seconds into the restart; Davies did well to win possession for the Pitmen off Chris Atkinson, stealing the ball out wide on the left wing, some thirty-five yards from goal. Without hesitation, the playmaker unleashed a quite superb, unstoppable dipping shot that flew into the far corner of the net like an arrow, leaving Hall grasping at air as it shot past him. A great goal, and a likely winner of the goal of the season after just four games


Clearly with a taste for goal, Davies went close to a quickfire double just two minutes later as he jinked his way past two challenges before pulling his shot wide of the Farsley goal


Howard had impressed tremendously with a brave, high-quality showing down the left flank and won yet another free-kick on fifty minutes after terrorising the Farsey defence. His low driven ball into the box was turned over the bar for a corner kick, from which Gatter headed just over the crossbar after Davies had found the defender with his cross


Back came Farsley, however, with the experienced Paul Walker doing well on fifty-three minutes to drift past two Hednesford challenges and cross to the far post, where Hayhurst sidefooted a great chance narrowly wide of the far post


More dazzling play from Howard saw the teenager create an opening for himself a minute later, as his marauding run down the left ended in the winger cutting inside and firing wide of goal with a low effort


The excellent Bursik made another good stop on fifty-seven minutes, smothering the loose ball down by his left-hand post to deny Hayhurst a strike on goal after Walker's pull-back


The Hednesford keeper made another excellent flying stop to keep his side in the lead on the hour mark, palming the ball away to his left to deny Ryan Watson a certain goal from fifteen yards out


Good play from Cockerline set Howard on his way on sixty-one minutes, with the winger taking a heavy first touch to allow Farsley to partially clear. Davies picked up the loose ball but lashed his rebound high over the crossbar with a wild effort


Successive Farsley corners caused the Pitmen problems in defence, with Curley doing well to deflect the second corner kick over the bar and away after Higgins had headed goalwards


The Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon on seventy-three minutes, with Charley Edge given a chance to pick up his fitness as he replaced Fitzpatrick in midfield


Cockerline had a great chance to put the game out of the sight for the Pitmen with fifteen minutes remaining but headed a great Curley cross just wide of the post


This was to prove a decisive miss for the visitors, as Farsley were handed an opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot on seventy-eight minutes; Nathan Turner's run into the box was brought to an abrupt halt by Curley - illegally as deemed by the referee - allowing Hayhurst to step up and send Bursik the wrong way from the penalty spot to level matters once more and set up an exciting final ten minutes. Curley and Bursik were both booking immediately following the award of the penalty for the foul and dissent


Farsley had their tails up, sensing a winning goal as the game entered it's final stages. Hayhurst thought he had won it for the hosts on eighty-four minutes, as his long-range free-kick struck the inside of Bursik's post and came back into play with the young keeper beaten to his right-hand side


The Pitmen made their second change of the game with five minutes remaining, as Dodd was brought on in place of the hardworking Howard out on the wing to add guile to the side


A minute later, the Pitmen snatched the all-important winner through Hollis, who had slotted in well to the Hednesford midfield after missing the first three games through suspension. A cross from Davies was turned goalwards by Mendez-Jones and Galinski before falling to Hollis, who was lurking on the edge of the six-yard box. The former Coalville man lashed home a close-range volley to send the band of Hednesford supporters behind the Farsley goal wild with joy - no less than they had deserved for their effort and application


With the game moving into added time, the Pitmen used their final substitution to kill a few seconds, with Sam Grimshaw making a late appearance in place of Davies


Of the four games played so far, this is clearly the standout performance from Smith's men, showing a better team spirit and determination than in any of the previous three league games to earn themselves another three points on the road. A tough first month comes to an end, but September starts in a similarly challenging programme, starting with the long trip up to the coast to face Whitby Town on Saturday. A continuation of their current away form would be most welcome as this young side continues to develop


Farsley Celtic: Hall, L. Turner, Baldwin, Higgins , Ellis, C. Atkinson, Watson, N. Turner, Walker (B. Atkinson 75), Cartman ©, Hayhurst   Subs Unused: Bower, Hill, Bett


Hednesford Town: Bursik , Mendez-Jones, Fitzpatrick ▆ (Edge 73 ),  Hollis, Galinski ©, Gatter, Howard  (Dodd 85), Curley , Cockerline, Davies (Grimshaw 90), Fox   Subs Unused: Turner, Craddock


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