FARSLEY Celtic remain top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division after grinding out a 2-1 win in the battle of the Celts.

Visitors Stalybridge Celtic looked to be on their way to a heavy defeat when Dave Syers gave the home side a first-minute lead but they proved to be a tough side to beat and were arguably the better side in the second half.

Farsley’s dream start saw them take the lead within 30 seconds of the first whistle as they won possession from Stalybridge’s kick-off to break forward. Paul Walker’s superb through ball found Syers and the former Bradford City midfielder did the rest.

The home side created more chances and had the ball in the net for a second time in the 20th minute, but Jimmy Spencer’s celebrations were cut short as he spotted an offside flag.

Spencer was not denied a goal on the day as he added the final touch to a good move just minutes later.

Walker was again involved and his pass released Ben Atkinson who played the ball into the area where Spencer was able to slot in at the far post.

Stalybridge keeper Paddy Wharton was powerless to prevent either goal but he made a decisive contribution ten minutes before the interval. Farsley had forced a free-kick and Will Hayhurst struck it well but Wharton made an excellent save.

Had Adam Lakeland’s men gone three goals ahead there would have been very different team talks for both managers to deliver.

As it was the visitors still had hope, and that increased when they pulled a goal back midway through the second half.

They had already created chances – some that home keeper Kyle Trenerry had done well to save – when they halved the deficit as Michael Howard converted a cross from Josh Solomon-Davies with a header.

Lakeland’s men were under the cosh but they made a late rally to see the game out and create more chances for themselves.

The Farsley boss said: “Stalybridge were the better side in the second half and threw plenty of bodies forward and asked a few more questions of us, but I felt we still deserved the win.

“In the first half we could have been at least another goal ahead but 2-0 is always that kind of scoreline that will see the other team come out at you. If they get a goal back then they are in the ascendancy. It was a tough game.”

Brighouse Town are still in the midst of the play-off battle in the Division One East – despite being held to a 2-2 draw at home by promotion-chasing rivals Cleethorpes Town.

Vill Powell’s men got off to a fine start, breaking the deadlock in the fourth minute against the Owls.

The home side had forced a corner and when Rhys Jenkinson’s header from the flag-kick was only parried by visiting keeper Theo Richardson, Kurt Harris reacted to fire the rebound in.

It was the only goal of the first half and the second period was a tale of three penalties – two for the visitors and one for the home side.

Cleethorpes levelled when Scott Vernon netted from 12 yards following a handball offence just three minutes after the interval.

Deep into the second half the Owls were guilty of a foul in the area and Town’s Zeph Thomas stepped forward to send Richardson the wrong way.

Home keeper Jordan Porter was beaten from the spot for a second time on the day when Vernon netted his second spot-kick.