FARSLEY CELTIC Juniors have become only the second team in Yorkshire Amateur League history to reach the last eight of the West Riding County FA Challenge Cup.
After shocking first Horbury Town and then Robin Hood Athletic, the ultimate challenge now awaits in next month’s quarter-finals as former holders Leeds City are next.
Second in the Yorkshire Amateur League Premier, Farsley caused the shock of the last 16 on Saturday with a 2-1 success at a Robin Hood Athletic side sat seventh in the powerful West Yorkshire Premier.
Leeds City – third in the West Yorkshire Premier – will now host Juniors on Saturday, February 7 but Celts will be chasing a West Yorkshire Premier giant-killing hat-trick having already knocked out Horbury Town in the second round.
Managed by Barry Thirsk and coached by Adam Thirsk, Farsley looked like they would pay the price for missing two gilt-edged opportunities in the first half on Saturday when Athletic took a 60th-minute lead through Graham Marchant who headed home a well hit cross.
Farsley then changed their system to a more attacking 3-4-3 and they probed incessantly but were twice nearly caught out by quickfire Robin Hood breaks.
But Farsley kept up the pressure and eventually drew level when a cross from the left was swept home by Celtic skipper Craig Farrand.
Five minutes later Juniors were in dreamland when a subtly flighted freekick from Farrand was headed back into the area for substitute Joe Firth to lash the ball home to set off uninhibited celebrations.
Celtic’s quarter-final opponents Leeds City will now be seen as among the favourites for the competition alongside the likes of Beeston St Anthony’s and Bardsey with the latter booking their place in the last eight with a 2-1 win at West Yorkshire League Premier Division rivals Boroughbridge.
Michael Mullenger netted for the hosts but goals from Daniel Maw and Nicky Seed booked a fourth round date at home to Salts.
Bardsey boss Lee Barraclough was delighted with the ideal start to 2015 but is adamant there are more likely winners of this year’s County Challenge Cup than his Keswick Laners.
“We’re not the favourites – that’s got to be Beeston or Leeds City for me,” said Barraclough.
“Beeston and Leeds City look really strong – as do Settle United.”
Bardsey’s next opponents Salts were 3-1 winners at home to Whitkirk Wanderers.
Paul Graham netted for Whitkirk but goals from Ryan Gill, Tom Hickey and Ross Barraclough sent the County Amateur League men through.
Leeds City recorded a 3-0 success at Rolls to book their quarter-final spot but the eagerly-awaited game between Beeston and Knaresborough Town was postponed and will now take place this coming weekend.
The winners will entertain West Yorkshire League Division One side Carlton Athletic who marched on with a 4-1 win at home to Skipton LMS.
Settle United upset big guns Rimington to book a home clash with either Oxenhope Recreation and Howden Clough who will try again this weekend after Saturday’s tie was abandoned.