Pre-season friendly: Farsley Celtic 0 Bradford Park Avenue 0

DEFENCES were on top as Farsley Celtic hosted Bradford Park Avenue in a tough contest that was ultimately goalless.

Only one rung on the non-league ladder separates these following the Celts’ promotion last term, but it was the higher-ranking Vanarama National League North visitors who created the better chances against the Evo-Stik Premier hosts at Throstle Nest.

Avenue lost a key forward before kick-off as Oli Johnson took no further part after the warm-up, with boss Mark Bower revealed afterwards that this was merely a precaution.

Without Johnson up front, Avenue were left to rely on the three trialists  in the starting line-up but it was the home side who got the first sight of goal but Ben Atkinson’s shot was blocked at point-blank range by a defender.

Avenue’s first threat came from Farsley skipper Danny Ellis, the experienced defender slicing an attempted clearance which his keeper Graeme McKibbon had to save on the line.

Avenue should have taken the lead just after the half-hour when a cleared corner was crossed back but the trialist fluffed his lines as the ball dropped to his feet.

The visitors made one change at the break, with Adam Boyes replacing assistant player-manager Danny Boshell.

The game was broken up in the last 30 minutes by more changes from both sides as players got time on the pitch.

One of Avenue’s three substitute trialists squandered a good chance late on as the visitors threatened to win the game with a late onslaught.

Bower said: “Farsley obviously came into this game not to lose and we set up as an away team as an exercise, so it was never going to be a high-scoring game but it was a good work-out and we’ve learned a few things.

“OJ was going to play but we are managing his condition throughout and decided not to risk him. He’s a special case really and it’s pre-season so we can afford to wrap him in cotton wool.

“It didn’t disrupt our plans at all and we got some players 90 minutes so it’s all good.”

His opposite number, new Farsley manager Adam Lakeland, said: “I was pleased with a clean sheet against a side of their quality and I thought we defended well, especially at the end when they were pushing.

“They had a lot of the ball but we expected that and they had the better chances.

"We didn’t really threaten throughout but we played well. Our defence was all over the place in the first couple of friendlies but its coming together now.”