Evo-Stik League Premier Division: Stourbridge 1 Farsley Celtic 2

FARSLEY Celtic hauled themselves back into the play-off places in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division with a hard-earned win at Stourbridge last night.

The Celts were denied the chance to bounce back from a home defeat to promotion rivals Hednesford Town on the first Saturday of the month when their trip to Workington at the weekend was postponed.

They proved that the inactivity had merely strengthened their resolve to reclaim a place in the top five as they faced the Glassboys at the War Memorial Athletic Ground.

Isaac Baldwin had the first shot on target but home keeper Harry Beasley was equal to it.

Just minutes later, however, Baldwin provided the assist for the opening goal as his pass found Ben Atkinson, who fired a shot that swerved to deceive Beasley.

The Celts’ lead lasted less than a minute though as the Glassboys’ Luke Benbow sent in an effort that beat Farsley keeper Graeme McKibbon via a deflection.

The home side defended well and made two superb blocks as both Chris and Ben Atkinson had shots after Paul Walker had turned in a dangerous cross in the 38th minute.

Again the home side responded, and Benbow found himself bearing down on the Celts’ goal after latching onto a long through ball.

His first touch was poor though which gave McKibbon time to race out and block.

The Farsley stopper was brave but needed treatment after colliding with Benbow. However, he recovered well and made a crucial save in the second half.

The visitors came out of the blocks well after the interval and Beasley could only palm a Nathan Cartman’s 46th-minute header onto a post, and Baldwin was the first to react and slotted the ball home.

Farsley’s slender advantage was under threat when Nathan Turner fouled Luke Shearer in the area just seven minutes after the visitors had regained the lead.

Benbow spotted the ball but McKibbon saved the penalty low to his right- hand side.

Baldwin later succumbed to injury and was replaced by Ryan Watson.

Stourbridge’s Stewart Pierpoint had the ball in Farsley’s net with eight minutes of regulation time remaining, only to see it ruled out for a foul on McKibbon, and Watson was booked for time-wasting in injury time as the home side forced chances to level.

The Celts held on with gritty determination to claim a welcome three points.