Team of the Week: Celtic cock-a-hoop over Farsley club’s development

Team of the Week, Farsley Celtic Ladies.
Team of the Week, Farsley Celtic Ladies.
0
Have your say

There aren’t many teams that are still unbeaten at this stage of the season, but, up until last weekend, Farsley Celtic Ladies were.

It’s no surprise that the team are one of the favourites for promotion.

And after finishing third in the North East Regional League last season but only three points behind champions Wetherby Athletic, Farsley are on target to go one better this year.

Even in spite of Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Westella & Willerby Ladies, Farsley have a three-point cushion back to third-placed Sheffield Wednesday Ladies, and with two games in hand.

Even leaders Oughtibridge War Memorial Ladies are, technically speaking, in hailing distance given that they are 10 points clear but having played two games more, with Farsley still having four games left compared to Oughtibridge’s two.

Manager Adrian Sparrow, though, admits that promotion was always this season’s target.

“Each year we sit down with the chairman, Robert Winterbottom, and club chief executive, Josh Greeves, and discuss goals for the season,” he said.

“We desperately wanted promotion for the first team having come so close last season. We narrowly missed out as we needed a win and seven goals on the final game of the season, but ended missing out with a draw.

“We never set out to finish the season unbeaten, or even be unbeaten at this stage of the campaign and we take each game as it comes.

“Our biggest overall aim at the club is to ensure that we are as successful as we can be, whilst still making sure the girls have fun along the way.”

Along with narrowly missing out on promotion, Farsley made it to the final of the West Riding County Cup last season, ultimately losing to Bradford City. However, Sparrow was proud of his side’s performance against stronger opposition.

“The highlight for me last season was definitely reaching the final of the County Cup where we faced a very strong Bradford City side. We were all very proud that night, and although we lost the final, it showed us all just how far we had come and expanded in a short space of time.”

Farsley ended up facing Bradford again in the County Cup this season, this time at the quarter-final stage and the scoreline drastically improved for Sparrow’s side.

“That was definitely our most difficult game so far and they proved why they’re the highest-ranking team in the county.

“Despite losing 2-0, it was a great improvement on last year’s final, when we were on the wrong end of a 9-0 thrashing.

“So, a year on and we can see some huge improvements.”

The Farsley manager has seen vast changes since he arrived in 2012, with the club going from strength to strength since.

“Upon moving to Leeds from Norfolk, my partner tried a few local sides in Leeds, before settling with Farsley.

“They had a shaky start and lost the first three games of the season during this time, conceding 14 goals in the process, so this was to be the start of a long journey for Farsley Ladies.

“In that same season we shook up things in training and changed formation. The team then went on a long and very fruitful winning streak and we ended up claiming the West Riding County FA Women’s League Division One title.

“A managerial change at the side ahead of the 2013/14 season saw myself have a more hands on role with the club, and in that season we went on to claim the Premier Division title and we moved up the pyramid to the North East Regional Women’s Football League.”

Unlike many teams in the lower leagues of women’s football, Farsley are continuing to grow and develop, whilst many of their opponents are dwindling.

Farsley have expanded their range of teams over the years, adding reserve and development sides over the last two seasons. The Reserves gained promotion to Division Two of the West Riding Division in their first season and have consolidated their position in the league this campaign.

“This season has seen us add a third Ladies side which is our development team, who also play in the West Riding League in the division below the reserves, who should finish in the top four this season with a few weeks left to play.

“Furthermore, we have increased our junior girls sides from just the under-18s to under-8s and under-11s, both of whom are thriving, which is topping off an amazing season so far.”

Sparrow and the rest of the Farsley coaching staff have plenty of plans for the future, concentrating on expanding the Ladies section of the club, whilst being successful on the pitch.

Sparrow said: “I think we can get to the FA Premier Division North in the next few seasons with a fantastic set of girls now being joined by our talented under-18s next season, where we would be playing against our closest rivals in Bradford City and Guiseley.

“Having teams at every level of juniors clearly has to be a target for the Ladies section, this will help us progress higher up the pyramid.

“We like to welcome players of all abilities and pride ourselves on rewarding those who train with match time, which is the way you have to manage it.”

With four games of the season remaining for Farsley, they are well on track to reach their targets, along with constantly developing for the better.

Farsley Celtic Ladies are certainly one of the women’s teams to watch out for in West Yorkshire.

Farsley are actively recruiting for the 2016/17 season and will be training every Wednesday during the summer.

With three Ladies teams and three junior sides it is a great opportunity for anyone to play football in the coming seasons.

Anyone interested should check out their website, www.farsleyceltic.com, social media accounts, or contact Adrian Sparrow directly on 07486 429925.

FARSLEY FACT FILE

Ground: Throstle Nest

Website: www.farsleyceltic.com

Facebook: Farsley Ladies

Twitter: @FarsleyCelticFC

Manager: Adrian Sparrow

Captain: Helen Gresty

Top goal-scorer: Keegan Lambert

Roy Stammer gets a shot away for Real Moor in their 7-2 away win over Leeds and District FA Senior Challenge Cup hosts
 Beeston Juniors FC. PIC: Steve Riding

Local Football: Real signal of intent delivered by magnificent Moor