Trafford 3-2 Farsley AFC
By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Match Photos are HERE
Missed chances were again to blame as Farsley AFC suffered an undeserved defeat at play-offs chasing Trafford, who completed the double over Neil Parsley’s men.
Michael Oates’ goal two minutes from time somehow won the game for Trafford, despite Farsley being the better side over the course of the game. Farsley also had to play the last ten minutes with ten men after goalkeeper Ben Higginson was sent off.
On a flat surface, Farsley showed why they had beaten Ramsbottom United last week and could have easily scored twice in the opening 20 minutes. The Trafford defence, marshalled by captain Nia Bayunu, a player that League Two outfit Fleetwood Town are rumoured to be scouting, could not cope.
Adam Priestley was the first Farsley player to be put through on goal, but he blazed over. Farsley legend Simeon Bambrook was then unfortunate when he found himself bearing down on goal. The ball took a bobble as he was about to shoot and his shot went well wide of the target.
Further chances followed with Farsley goalkeeper Higginson relatively untroubled at the other end. Farsley finally took the lead three minutes into the second half. It was Gareth Grant that broke clear and he delayed his shot so he could pass to Priestley who had the easiest of finishes. It was the striker’s 27th goal of a glorious campaign.
However, Trafford soon scored an undeserved equaliser. Danger-man Oates (pictured above), with 31 goals to his name this season, was brought down by Rob Etherington. It was a soft penalty award. The referee had a decent game and on a scale of ten, probably scored 7.5. However, he should have been better positioned for the foul and how he could give from his position on the 18-yard-line is beyond me. But, it was given and Paul Ashton rolled the penalty home with ease.
Grant, who worked extremely up-front on his own, then missed a close range chance before Farsley went ahead again. Steve Mallory’s corner wasn’t dealt with and Matty James (pictured above) was on hand to scoop the ball into the top corner.
Farsley looked on course for victory until the 76th minute when a scramble allowed former Bradford Park Avenue player Ally Brown to bring Trafford level for a second time.
And then came the game-changing moment. Higginson was deemed to have handled the ball outside the area and within two seconds of the linesman flagging, the referee pulled the red card out. It was an extremely poor decision from the referee as he didn’t allow himself any thinking time. There were at least four defenders around Higginson so it was not a goal-scoring opportunity. It is the second time this season when Farsley have been let down by a referee’s rush of blood – the 0-0 draw at Clitheroe is the other when Josh Radcliffe was dismissed.
Tom Morgan was brought on and Farsley survived the free kick from Higginson’s dismissal before Oates struck to keep Trafford on course for the play-offs. On the day, Farsley deserved to win, but Trafford’s style of football should be admired. Manager Garry Vaughan has a clear football philosophy – his team passes from the back and works forward. It should be applauded. Whether it works on uneven pitches is a different matter.
Man of the match – Gareth Grant (Farsley AFC)