Evo-Stik League Premier Division: Farsley Celtic 3 Halesowen Town 1

FARSLEY Celtic overcame a controversial sending off to bank three points that took them joint top of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division.

The incident that dominated the Celts’ clash with Halesowen Town came just after the hour, with centre back Adam Clayton receiving his marching orders.

There was no doubt that he fouled substitute Daniel Udoh, but there was a doubt as to whether initial contact was inside or outside the area, and there were conflicting opinions as to whether it denied a goal-coring opportunity.

Referee Wade Smith was surrounded by Halesowen players as he backed away considering his next move and, after giving himself time to think, he pulled out a red card and awarded a free-ick on the edge area.

Even Celts boss Adam Lakeland was non committal immediately after the game, saying: “The referee hasn’t done us any favours anyway, but with the sending off – it’s a hard one.

“From our side of the pitch (in the dugout), it looked as though there was plenty of cover and Adam wasn’t last man but we had a man on the other side (injured striker Adam Priestley sitting in the main stand) and he said the ref’s got it right.

“Until I see the game back, I wouldn’t like to say any more on that but what was right was the result. I thought we deserved to win it but the sending off made it really difficult.”

Farsley were cruising at 2-0 up before the red card after dominating the first half.

They took the lead through Ryan Watson in the 27th minute, when he netted a half-volley from close range after visiting keeper Danny Platt had stuck out a foot to parry a Richard Marshall effort.

Marshall scored the second goal but that one was all about the brilliance of Paul Walker as the mercurial winger dribbled his way to the line and cut the ball back to put it on a plate for Marshall.

Halesowen boss John Hill made two changes at the break but Farsley continued to dominate, and Platt made two outstanding saves to Watson and a Walker free-kick, and left back Jack Kelly stooped to head a Marshall shot off the line with Platt well beaten.

The visitors failed from the free-kick that resulted from the sending off but they forced a 68th-minute corner which eventually led to Lee Chilton netting a low shot.

Lakeland made a substitution to ensure his defence coped with the loss of Clayton, and the ten men sealed the win nine minutes from time.

Again it was from a chance carved out by Walker, and James Walshaw steered it in on the stretch.

Brighouse Town went down 1-0 at Prescot Cables in Division One as they slipped to 17th ahead of tomorrow night’s home derby against Ossett Albion.

Cables moved up two places to fourth with their narrow win against Town that came courtesy of a Harry Cain strike just before the hour.

Town now host the Unicorns, who are one of just five clubs below them in the table.

Ossett are second bottom and have taken just one point from nine games, they lost 1-0 at Bamber Bridge on Saturday.