Boss Neil Parsley has admitted defeat in the race for the Evo-Stik League First Division North title – but he is backing his Farsley AFC side to cement a place in the promotion play-offs come the end of the season.
Farsley got their league form back on track with a 2-0 victory at Ossett Town on Tuesday night, a Ryan Laight strike and an Adam Muller penalty moving them four points clear of sixth-placed Garforth, who suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat at home to Ossett Albion.
But after a barren January in which Farsley won just once in four league outings, Parsley’s men find themselves eight points behind table-toppers Fylde and seven adrift of a Curzon Ashton side who visit Throstle Nest tomorrow, with both the top two having games in hand.
And Parsley conceded: “I think the title is beyond us now, we have left ourselves too much to do.
“I think it’s between Fylde, Curzon and Witton to lift the title and then two from seven or eight to nail the two remaining play-off places.
“There is still an awful lot of football to be played but we are eight points behind and they have games in hand, and a side of Fylde’s calibre and Curzon’s are not going to slip up to that degree. We have dropped too many points to have a say in the title now.
“But we still want to be in the top five come the end of April which is what we set out to do at the start of the season.
“We will keep our foot on the gas, keep picking up points and hopefully the teams around us will all take points off each other.
“We have a nice buffer at the moment but two or three games and that can change, and there are going to be more twists and turns yet.
“But I have faith in the players and I firmly believe the squad we have got will get us to where we want to be.”
As well as Farsley, the teams in the chasing pack will also be targeting fourth-placed Skelmersdale, who are a point clear of Parsley’s men having played one match more.
Leading the chasers are Garforth Town, who got themselves in contention with a superb festive period and a blistering start to the new year only to them come up against Curzon and Fylde in title-winning form.
Steve Nichol’s men then lost on their return to action on Tuesday night following an enforced break and they will be looking to bounce back when they entertain lowly Harrogate Railway tomorrow.
“It was disappointing on Tuesday night,” admitted Nichol. “We were a little bit thin on the ground because we have had a bit of bad luck with injuries so we are working hard to try and bring one or two new players in to strengthen the team and also to lift us a bit.
“But we remain very positive. We know we are still in a good, strong position and we have a game on Saturday where we can bounce back.
“It’s changed a lot at the top this season. Teams above us will drop points and teams wanting to overtake us will drop points.
“We achieved two promotions in three seasons here when I was working alongside Simon Clifford. On both occasions we had to go on a very good run in the second half of the season so all that lays ahead we have done before.
“We just have to win our games starting with Harrogate Railway on Saturday.”
Like Albion, Railway are resident in the lower reaches of the division and this weekend’s match is one Garforth will be expected to win.
But Garforth failed to make the most of their possession in midweek and found themselves trailing to goals from Richard Tracey and Matthew Patterson before the hour mark.
A thrilling late fightback saw Mathew Mathers and Ben Thornton level matters by the 89th minute, but Town then conceded a 90th-minute spot-kick.
“The key is getting the first goal,” added Nichol. “We have a young squad and it’s important for confidence.
“We must have had 70 per cent of the possession on Tuesday night and we hit the woodwork twice – if one of those chances had gone in it would have been a different game.”
Elsewhere in the division tomorrow, Ossett Town will be looking for their first win under new boss Eric Gilchrist when they host Clitheroe.
Ossett Albion will look to continue their climb away from the foot of the table when they visit Woodley Sports, and Wakefield – who are now five points adrift of Albion in second-bottom spot – travel to Salford City.
Goole are at Sutton Coldfield Town in First Division South.