2011/12: Evo-Stik NPL Division One North – Farsley AFC v Garforth Town
(11.00am) Welcome to 2012! In football terms a year which includes the Africa Cup of Nations later this month in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, the European Championship Finals in Poland and Ukraine (starting in June) and the much debated return of a Great Britain football team at the London Olympics – quite a year.
Today though is a cracking West Yorkshire derby at Throstle Nest between Farsley AFC and Garforth Town. Both teams have had good seasons to date, with Farsley in third spot and Garforth in eighth. However, they know that there are teams around them with games-in-hand and therefore the pressure is on to keep winning and hope that teams around them drop points. Farsley have been on a great run recently in which they have won seven of their last eight League games. Garforth had a decent December winning three out of four games, so today is set up as an intriguing game.
(11.00pm) Farsley AFC (2) 2 – 3 (1) Garforth Town
When a game finishes 3-2 you assume that it has been a bit of a cracker. However in truth the bumper crowd of 399 witnessed a pretty scrappy affair, due in part to the windy conditions and a pitch that had endured some heavy rain in the previous couple of days.
The game started badly for The Villagers, when in the opening five minutes, Mark Jackson was forced to leave the field with what looked like an ankle injury. However, this didn’t seem to unsettle Farsley and just a couple of minutes later, a through ball put Gareth Grant clear on goal. He kept his cool to round Garforth keeper Higginson to give the home side the lead. The Miners responded positively and it was no surprise when they levelled the score on twenty three minutes with Dempsey heading home for the visitors. Farsley were struggling to impose themselves on the game and even with the wind at their backs there was a lack of fluency to their play. Whilst it would be unfair to say the home team looked disorganised, they appeared to be missing the influence of the injured Mark Jackson. With half-time looming, Simeon Bambrook swung in a corner which found the net to give Farsley a somewhat fortunate 2-1 half-time lead.
As in the first half, Farsley were forced into an early substitution, this time Ben Jones pulled up with a hamstring problem. However, Garforth were soon into their stride in the second-half and were level within seven minutes of the restart. A corner from Oliver Hotchkiss found its way directly into the Farsley net, although there were protests from the home team that keeper Antoni Pecora had been fouled. Farsley continued to struggle in the second half and lacked cohesion all around the pitch. Garforth continued to chase every cause and never allowed The Villagers to settle. The visitors nearly took the lead from an effort by Tom Greaves, when a straightforward looking shot was badly handled by Pecora, who was grateful to grab the ball at the second attempt. Indeed, this incident reflected a Farsley side that looked apprehensive and had no answer to a Garforth side who looked more eager and ‘up for it’. The Miners persistence paid off when with three minutes to go, Paul Walker latched onto a mistake from David Briggs to clinically slot home the winner for Garforth. Farsley had no way back and at the final whistle the visitors celebration showed that not only was this a victory in a local derby with bragging rights at stake, but was a win that well and truly put Garforth into the play-off picture.
Farsley must dust themselves down and look forward to their remaining League fixtures in January with games against Mossley (away), Radcliffe Borough (home), Warrington Town (home) and Lancaster City (away). Garforth will start 2012 with confidence as they take on, Cammell Laird (home), Durham City (away), Curzon Ashton (away) and AFC Fylde (home). Then just as January 2012 started with The Villagers v The Miners fixture, so will the end of the month, as in the West Riding County Cup Quarter Final, Garforth host Farsley on 31st January. It’s going to be an interesting start to the year!