Farsley Celtic 5 Bradford (Park Avenue) 0

BRADFORD (Park Avenue) left it late to hand out the presents this Christmas but once they started in the second half at the Citadel they just couldn’t stop giving.

The Celts romped to a five-goal win to leave their neighbours rooted to the foot of the Vanarama National League North table.

Adam Lakeland’s Farsley, meanwhile, strengthened their own position in the play-off places as they moved up to fifth.

It had been a close and exciting first half that Avenue had marginally bossed, the visitors having Farsley on the back foot for the last 10 minutes.

The first period ended goalless with the Celts heading into the dressing room thankful that they had held out.

There was no suggestion of the mauling that was to come and in his post-match interview Avenue manager Mark Bower was still stunned.

He said: “I can’t explain what I’ve just seen, I’m still trying to understand what happened.

“We matched them in every department in the first half and probably had the better chances.

"We haven’t taken any of those chances so when they get an early lead in the second half it’s the same situation again with us trying to chase a game.

“I thought the two decisions were shocking, the free-kick for the first goal and the penalty, but we should be defending better than that. Every time they had a set-piece in the second half they looked like scoring.

“We asked questions of them in the first half but we didn’t do anywhere near enough in the second half and when they asked questions of us we just fell apart.”

Farsley broke the deadlock from a 48th-minute free-kick, it was delivered deep and Dave Syers headed it back across the face of goal for Nathan Cartman to tuck in from close range.

The home side doubled their lead two minutes later when Tyler Walton took a tumble as Isaac Marroitt slid in to dispossess him. Will Hayhusrt fired the resulting spot-kick into the bottom corner, to Tom Nicholson’s right-hand side.

A free-kick on the edge of the area 12 minutes later got a touch from a defender for a corner and the flag kick caused the Avenue defence more problems and Syers drilled in a shot from eight yards as he was left unmarked in the area.

Shell-shocked Avenue keeper Nicholson made a good save 12 minutes later but at the expense of a corner that led to Farsley centre-back Jack Higgins netted an overhead kick.

The final ignominy came in the first minute of stoppage time as another penalty was conceded, Hayhurst placed thee ball on the spot and he fired it into the same bottom corner.

Lakeland said: “It was a good win for us and we had to work hard for it because Avenue were the better side in the first half, no doubt about that.

“We had spoken before the game about the first goal being all important and we were fortunate we hadn’t conceded at half time so we talked about it again.

"Once we got that first goal, and then obviously with the second just minutes later we were on top and I thought we were relentless after that.

“We didn’t let up and I think their lack of confidence affected them once they were behind.

"It’s difficult when you’re down there and nothing is going for you but our lads were very professional in their outlook and they got the job done.”