2010/11: NCEL Premier Division – Farsley AFC v Maltby Main
Why am I starting this particle article with this word? Well, the answer is a simple one. The word “Revival” adorns the cover of the matchday programme of Farsley AFC this season. It is there as a reminder to all that this is indeed a club restored to life. Few outside of this part of West Yorkshire will know about the story of Farsley AFC.
Farsley Celtic football club was founded by a group of local men in 1908 and the team began life in the Leeds Amateur League. From the 1920’s they found a permanent home at Red Lane opposite Farsley Cricket Club and moved to their current ground at Throstle Nest after the Second World War. In 1949-50 “The Villagers” moved into the Yorkshire League Division Two and won the title in 1951-52 gaining promotion to Division One. In 1959-60 Farsley were crowned as champions, but were not promoted due to the ground not meeting the regulatory standards. History repeated itself in 1968-69, when having won the title again Farsley were once more denied promotion.
With the merger in 1982 of the Yorkshire and Midland Leagues to form the Northern Counties East League, Farsley found themselves in Division One North. Success soon came “The Villagers” way, winning the title in 1984-85 and promotion to the Premier Division. After only two seasons Farsley finished runners-up and were invited into the Northern Premier League as founder members of the Northern Premier League First Division.
There followed a period of consolidation, before in the 2003-04 season, Farsley earned promotion to the Northern Premier (Unibond) League Premier Division. Then just two seasons later, following a Play-Off Final win over North Ferriby, promotion was obtained to the Conference North. Incredibly the following season (2006-07) Farsley reached the Play-off final after finishing fifth. They played Hinckley United winning 4-3 with a last minute penalty from Simeon Bambrook after twice coming from behind, securing their place in the highest echelons of non league soccer for the fist time in their history during their centenary season. Lee Sinnott had achieved a remarkable four promotions in five seasons and was making a good fist of life in the Conference Premier before departing to Port Vale.
Sinnott’s departure during 2007-08 inevitably affected the team and on the last day of the season “The Villagers” were unfortunately relegated back to the Conference North. By now the financial pressure of the promotions were hitting “The Villagers” hard and at the end of the 2008-09 the club was charged with financial irregularities and expelled from the Conference North. However, the decision was reversed and Farsley began 2009-10 but with a -10 point deduction. “The Villagers” never completed the season when in March 2010 the club was disbanded by the Administrators.
Many believed that would be the end of the club, but Farsley AFC were reformed by John Palmer’s consortium and were accepted by the (Koolsport) Northern Counties East League, Premier Division in June 2010 so allowing the continuation of 102 years of existence for the club.
Farsley have made a strong start to this seasons campaign and before the home fixture against Maltbty Main had a record of: Played 15, Won 11, Drawn 3, Lost 1. This total of 36 points meant they topped the table, although the teams below them such as Parkgate and Bridlington Town have games in hand on “The Villagers”.
Maltby Main came into this game at the wrong end of the table and on paper it looked like a routine win for the League leaders. However, it was an uncomfortable day for Farsley who put in a very poor performance to lose 4-2. Farsley looked vulnerable at the back and conceded the midfield area to a much more committed and eager Maltby team.
The visitors took the lead in the 17thminute when Adam Shepherd coolly beat Tom Morgan when presented with a one on one situation with the Farsley keeper. It looked like the home side had finally woken up when they equalised almost immediately, as Simeon Bambrook converted Roy Stamer’s cross. Farsley pressed without being convincing and on the stroke of half-time, went behind again. There was a suspicion of offside as Robert Branagan was played in and he squared the ball to Scott Whittingham who applied the finishing touch.
If the home fans expected their team to come out all guns blazing, then they were disappointed. However, the second half came to life during a seven minute period which effectively put the game beyond Farsley’s reach. In the 56thminute Maltby were awarded a penalty which Greg Mason expertly put away to give the visitors a 3-1 lead. Within five minutes, Farsley had reduced the deficit as substitute Dave Stead raced into the penalty area and was brought down by Patrick Sullivan. Dominic Krief had his spot kick saved, but Simeon Bambrook managed to score the re-bound. Any chance of a Farsley recovery however were dispelled on 63 minutes, when Robert Branagan breezed through the non-existent Villagers backline to give the visitors a 4-2 lead. At last there was some urgency from the Farsley team as they created a number of chances in the final quarter of the game, but all to no avail.
In truth the visitors deserved their victory and the Farsley faithful amongst the 244 crowd will hope that it was just once of those days. Here’s hoping that the “revival” continues and that come the end of the season, “The Villagers” are celebrating promotion.
The Farsley AFC website can be found through the following link: Farsley AFC website