As we reflect on our memorable meetings with local rivals Bradford (Park Avenue), we take a look back at our 5-0 victory at the Citadel in December 2019.


2019 has been an excellent year for Farsley Celtic, with no better way to end it than 5-0 at the Citadel, writes Warren Smith.

As club Operations Director, Robert Winterbottom, wrote in the matchday programme, 2019 has been one of the best years for the club with promotion to the National League North coupled with great support from fans, players and staff alike. No better way to end the year than with one more win at the Citadel in resounding fashion.

With the Christmas festivities in full force, over 750 turned up to support the Celt Army one more time this decade with the club donning the Mexican day promotion; there was undoubtedly a fiesta awaiting them.

The opposition, bottom-of-the-league Bradford Park Avenue were visiting in their Marmite strip with a horrid horizontal rugby-looking shirt which isn’t going to win any beauty competitions too soon.

With five changes from the Boxing Day squad, Farsley were expected to be fresher and livelier than a team who had won three times in the previous 22 games.

Playing to the script, our lads dominated the play early on, forcing the opposition to foul. Freekicks were frequently awarded to the home side as PA couldn’t hold a conceivable formation shape, losing their heads early. Yet the Celts couldn’t convert any early chances, which allowed the visitors into the game, reclaiming their organisation.

“Indecision, passive as well as generally sloppy” was how Adam Lakeland described the first-half play from Farsley, as the team were either reluctant to shoot or flagged offside consistently. The first-half whistle ended what a cagey, limited excitement first period was — 0-0 at HT.

Lakeland wouldn’t omit the exact words used or how they were delivered in his post-match interview. He did, however, stress the team needed to “play with purpose, tempo and urgency”.

Which the players executed, racing out with attack-minded play as well as a refreshed impetus. Come the 48th minute, Nathan Cartman successfully tapped one in to change the game’s course completely, 1-0 Farsley were now in the mood.

Two minutes later Farsley were attacking as Tyler Walton was through on goal, only to be brought down illegally. Spot-kick awarded, the home fans roared as the team as the half-time break truly rejuvenated the side, Will Hayhurst coolly slotted home the penalty for 2-0.

At this point, the home side’s attacks were inexorable, as Park Avenue could neither defend nor deter the incoming attacks. On corner delivery, Hayhurst turned provider with a delicious ball for Dave Syers to rifle in for the third on 63 minutes played.

Truly outplayed after the break, the opposition was visibly deflated, notably their keeper, Joe Green, venting frustration on his teammates. No instruction from him or the bench could weather the storm as there was still more in stock for them.

The year, the bumper crowd in addition to the continuous pressure in the second half deserved a special goal, befitting the occasion, Jack Higgins, delivered just that with a glorious overhead kick. This Incited vibrant celebrations on the pitch, Higgins’ shirt was catapulted into the crowd, revered by his teammates as the fans jubilantly appreciate the 4-0 scoreline with only 20 minutes played in the second half.

The game could not continue with such rapid-fire attack, naturally slowing down with the result now academic. Bradford PA made some in-roads into the game but skied every attempt on goal. Kyle Trenerry was untested for the game’s majority but notably tackled well towards an incoming striker close to the end of the match to keep his clean sheet.

Come stoppage time the cold and dark set in, with depleting numbers among the PA fans, and their team lost it as well. Fouling then subsequently grounding Hayhurst in the box in the 91st minute looked unnecessary, brash as well as reckless. Another penalty kick, another goal for Hayhurst. Farsley Celtic celebrated the 5-0 win shortly after with the full-time whistle, calling time on an empathetic way to end the year at the Citadel.