Farsley Celtic’s impressive comeback story will have the chance to continue when they host Ossett Town in tomorrow’s Evo-Stik First Division North play-off final.
It has the makings of a momentous occasion with the Leeds club looking to gain promotion back to the Premier Division, having entered administration in 2009 following relegation after one season in the Conference National before reforming as Farsley AFC in time to compete in the top flight of the Northern Counties East League during the 2010/2011 campaign, which they finished as champions.
Joint manager Neil Parsley has hailed the game as a valuable opportunity to fulfil a long-term goal and believes promotion would be a fitting reward for the tireless work that has gone into Farsley’s revival.
“It’s taken lots of planning, building, volunteers, and hard work from the players and coaches, a combination of all those ingredients,” he said. “It’s what we all aspire towards and it’s an opportunity to get out of this league which is what we’ve set out to do since July.”
Parsley added: “It’s hard work, travelling to watch different teams and finding new players, but we do it because we love football and I’m sure manager Grant Black and the coaches over at Ossett would agree.”
Second-placed Farsley fell just short of automatic promotion after finishing one point behind Lancaster City and will now welcome Town to Throstle Nest (kick-off 3pm) with a chance to compete for promotion to the National League North next season at stake.
Five separate meetings between the two across all competitions since September 2016 have seen Farsley pick up three wins to Ossett Town’s two. That said, the latter did emerge as 2-0 victors away from home when the sides met on Easter Monday – Farsley’s only defeat in their last nine games.
“Whether home advantage will be key or not I don’t know,” mused Parsley. “Ossett deserved three points the last time we played them and I would say they enter as favourites. There’s apprehension and nerves, but we’re looking forward to it.”
He also confirmed that Farsley would be entering the game with everybody available and a clean bill of health.
Town midfielder Jason Yates, meanwhile, is also taking nothing for granted but remains positive his team are more than capable of claiming a victory.
“The game is going to be a belter,” he said. “Yes, we’ve beaten them, but this is a final and what has gone before will have no bearing on this game.
“As long as we perform as I know we can, I am confident of a good result.”
Celtic and Town secured their places in the final thanks to 4-0 and 3-1 wins over respective play-off opponents Colne and Scarborough Athletic in midweek.
NATIONAL LEAGUE/NCE LEAGUE
FC HALIFAX Town boss Billy Heath has called on his side to “keep pushing” for second place in the National League by winning the last game of the league campaign at Chorley tomorrow.
Halifax can still finish second ahead of Kidderminster, but will need to beat Chorley and hope Kidderminster lose or draw at home to Bradford Park Avenue.
If not, Town will finish third, unless they lose and Salford beat Darlington with a high enough score to overtake Halifax on goal difference.
A win will guarantee Chorley finish in the top five, but if they draw or lose they could be overtaken by Stockport if they beat Gloucester by a big enough margin.
Heath insists second place is still up for grabs. He said: “We can still go above Kidderminster and we have to try and do that.
“We want to finish second because if we get through to the final we’d have home advantage, which is huge.
“There’s no point pretending otherwise.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, 11th-placed Harrogate Town complete their league season at AFC Telford United.
In the NCE League Division One tomorrow, second-placed Pickering Town travel to AFC Mansfield, Hemsworth MW play at Rainworth MW, Liversedge host Retford United, Garforth Town entertain Bridlington Town and Harrogate Railway play at home to Albion Sports.