A HARD earned 1-1 home draw with mid-table Hyde United was enough to keep Farsley Celtic top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

The players from both sides toiled in the searing heat as the hottest Easter weekend on record roasted Throstle Nest.

The result wasn’t the one that the home side wanted but second-placed South Shields also dropped two points as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Stafford Rangers.

Shields remain three points behind the Celts but they are now third after Warrington Town leapfrogged them with a 2-1 win at Stalybridge Celtic.

All of which means that even if Adam Lakeland’s Farsley win at Whitby Town on Easter Monday they cannot be certain of the title until their final game of the season – at home against Marine on Saturday.

Following his side’s draw against Hyde – who had former Bradford (Park Avenue) striker Chib Chilaka leading the line for them – Lakeland said: “The pitch was awful, dry and bumpy. The heat and the way that Hyde set-up all made it a really difficult game.

“I know it’s late in the season and we’re looking to win the league but I don’t think nerves came into it, not at all. The players were up for the game and I’ve got no complaints whatsoever with the effort they put in.

“We had chances, especially late in the game, but we just couldn’t get that second goal which would have been enough. I was disappointed with the way we conceded – and just after we had taken the lead as well.

“It’s hard enough to get in front in games like that, but once you have you need to make sure you keep your concentration.”

It was a predatory strike from Nathan Cartman that broke the deadlock in the 20th minute.

The ball found Jimmy Spencer on the edge of the area and his shot looked to be heading at the Tigers’ keeper Peter Crook before Cartman’s quick thinking and even quicker reaction.

Just three minutes later, Hyde’s right wing-back Dominic Smalley raced down the flank, cut in towards the corner of the area and dispatched a low shot across Celts keeper Kyle Trenerry and into the corner.

Farsley had a strong penalty appeal just before the hour mark when a Ben Atkinson shot was deflected for a corner, with the Celts’ players adamant that it was a hand that had diverted it.

The referee was unmoved by their claims and home skipper Danny Ellis headed the resulting corner over.

With six minutes remaining, Atkinson was denied again, this time by the woodwork as his shot from the edge of the area came back off the bar.