Ramsbottom United 1-2 Farsley AFC
By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Match Photos are HERE
If Farsley AFC had played like they did against Ramsbottom United all season long, Neil Parsley’s men would have been challenging for the title. It was a vintage away performance against a team that were hot on the heels of leaders Skelmersdale United before the game in second-place in the Evo Stik Division One North table.
Farsley hadn’t won since the 2nd February so the omens didn’t look good. Farsley did ride their luck and goalkeeper Tom Morgan was their man of the match. Inside the opening 20 minutes Ramsbottom’s Lee Gaskell had a shot cleared off the line before Morgan denied Gary Stopforth and then Phillip Dean rattled the crossbar.
Ramsbottom looked good value, but Farsley dug-in and went a goal ahead just before the break. Ryan Harrison’s floating free kick landed kindly for centre-half Matt Dempsey and he headed home from close range.
Now what I didn’t mention was that there were tensions in the first half, mainly due to a string of poor decisions from all three officials. And as the sides were drifting into the tunnel at half-time, the Ramsbottom joint-manager Anthony Johnson showed himself to be a bit of an idiot. He needlessly squared-up to Farsley management and caused a mini-brawl. He did a similar thing at Throstle Nest last September so it was hardly a surprise when he started behaving like it was a Sunday morning match and shouting “let me at him” as sparks began to fly.
It did provide some entertainment for the 446 strong crowd. Ramsbottom had launched an initiative to try and achieve an attendance of 1000 for the game and did really well to get nearly 500. But as Ramsbottom is a small and tight ground, it was probably a good thing they didn’t. It was rammed with 446 so had they reached 1000, it would have been a game of sardines. It nearly was with 446 people. You simply can’t fit 1000 people in the Riverside Stadium.
No action was taken over the brawl at half-time and Ramsbottom equalised in the 57th minute when Jon Robinson twisted and turned in the penalty area to score. Minutes later Morgan turned away a Dominic Smalley header as Ramsbottom turned the screw.
But, Farsley weathered the storm and the help of Neil Parsley’s inspirational substitution, they got the winner. Stalwart Gareth Grant replaced Adam Priestley and within eight minutes of coming on, the striker had scored.
Matty James was the provider, the playmaker showing the tricks he has stored in his lock erwith a deft pass which opened the door for Grant. He still had a lot to do, but he made the chance look easy with a curling finish which crashed off the stanchion and into the net.
Farsley had further chances to seal the win, but Grant’s moment of genius was enough ahead of a local derby with Harrogate Railway on Easter Monday.