2012/13: Evo-Stik League First Division North – Farsley AFC v Ramsbottom United
Saturday 22 September 2012 (10:00)
Last season Farsley finished fourth and made it into the play-offs, only to lose 3-0 in their Semi-Final game at Witton Albion. Having been so close to promotion and boosted by a number of summer signings, there would have been plenty of optimism around Throstle Nest that another decent challenge to make the next step up the football league ladder was on the cards. However, so far the season has never really got going for Farsley.
Their league campaign opened with a creditable 1-1 draw at Lancaster City, followed by a 5-3 home defeat of Salford City and Farsley ended August unbeaten after a 3-2 win over Jarrow Boldon Roofing CA in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round. However, so far September has been a miserable month for Farsley. It started with a 4-0 home drubbing by Mossley and was followed by another league defeat 2-0 at Ossett Albion. Farsley faced Ossett again just four days later at Throstle Nest, in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round, where the teams played out a 1-1 draw. In the replay Albion won 1-0 and Farsley’s participation in the FA Cup was over. Another Cup exit followed swiftly as after a draw with Radcliffe Borough, the replay at Stainton Park saw Farsley slip out of the FA Trophy with a 1-0 loss.
Today Farsley return to league action against Ramsbottom United hoping to kick-start their season. Their opponents are new to the Evo-Stik League First Division North, as Ramsbottom were promoted as Champions from the North West Counties Football League Premier Division. The Rams have had a steady start to this season, which began with an opening day 3-3 draw in the league against Cammell Laird and was followed by a 1-0 win at Ossett Town. August ended on a high as Brigg Town were dispatched 3-0 in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round. September started with a second away league win, this time 2-0 at Goole. There then followed a first league loss of the season, at home to Skelmersdale United. The Rams then exited the FA Cup after a 3-1 defeat at AFC Fylde, but bounced back last weekend with a 1-0 win over Brigg Town in the FA Trophy. United have been good on their travels so far this season and this will be a test of character for Farsley, who have struggled for goals, scoring just two in their last six matches.
Saturday 22 September 2012 (22:00)
On a sunny September afternoon, Farsley started brightly despite the poor month they were so far encountering. Up front Gareth Grant was posing the main threat for the home team and he had an early chance well saved by Ramsbottom keeper Grant Shenton. The positive start by Farsley was soon rewarded though on fifteen minutes, when Adam Muller played in Gareth Grant whose scuffed effort crept into the goal with Shenton wrong-footed. This spurned on the home team and further chances were being fashioned. The Rams keeper Grant Shenton was in inspired form as he kept out Muller with a full length save. On the half hour, Muller was again close as great control on his chest created a volleyed opportunity which just went wide. Farsley’s dominance was such that central defender Mark Jackson was increasingly venturing forward as they pressed for a second goal. It was not until shortly before half-time that the visitors created their first real chance, when Lee Gaskell had an effort comfortably gathered by Tom Morgan in the Farsley goal. The home side were worth their 1-0 lead, but really should have been further ahead.
In the second-half, Farsley were again on the front foot in the opening period with Shenton saving brilliantly from a Ryan Watson shot. The dangerous Muller had another opportunity to increase the lead, but could only put his effort over the bar. With the visitors on the back foot, changes were needed and on the hour Phil Dean was replaced by Grant Spencer. The substitution proved to be inspired as within a minute The Rams were level. With almost his first touch, Spencer provided a perfect through ball for Gaskell, who lobbed it past the advancing Tom Morgan to score. The Rams and their fans sensed that the tide had turned as Gaskell went close on a couple of occasions with the game entering the final quarter. However, Farsley did have an excellent chance to win in near the end, as with a couple of minutes to go Gareth Grant was played in on the right, but instead of nestling in the back of the net, his shot just went wide. Ramsbottom though didn’t settle for a point and substitute Ryan Moore was denied twice in time added on, first by a brave save from Morgan and with seconds to go by the assistant’s flag.
At the whistle the players left to good applause from the crowd for what had been an entertaining encounter. Farsley have still yet to win in September, but will entertain Osset Town on Tuesday and visit struggling Garforth Town next Saturday, in search of three points. Ramsbottom continue unbeaten on the road in the league and now look forward to a home tie to end September, against Northwich Victoria in the FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round. On this evidence, Farsley will have their work cut out to get amongst the play-off places, but will be helped once the suspension and injury situation improves. For Ramsbottom, they looked to have enough battling qualities to ensure this is a season of consolidation in the league.