It was simply gr-eight for Farsley Celtic on Sunday as they played their first away game of the season with a trip to Wakefield to take on Hall Green United.
Not a lot was known about the opposition but Farsley arrived early and set about preparing to carry their strong performance from a week ago against Huddersfield Amateur into the match to stake their claim as one of the teams to beat in Division One.
However, things could not have gotten off to a worse start as straight from kick off, Hall Green executed a beautifully prepared move that got them open in space and able to take the lead with what was the only blot in the copy book of stand-in goalkeeper Olivia Wheatley who otherwise had put in a cracking display at the back.
This seemed to be the wake up call that Farsley needed and we quickly pulled our socks up and set about getting at the Hall Green defence with the pace of Evie Smith and hard work of Georgia Bull up front causing all kinds of problems.
In perhaps a sign of things to come, Shirley Murphy soon showed that she would be a thorn in Hall Green’s side with a number of testing efforts that were well saved by the Hall Green goalkeeper.
This led to plenty of opportunities from corners and Lauren Rigby’s delivery was well aimed all day and if not for some wayward heading we would have pulled level.
It was soon clear that there was a mismatch between our attack and the Hall Green defence and we were able to exploit this with some lovely through balls where our pace really came in useful.
But 18 minutes in we struck back! Ebony Hartnett played a beautiful pass that split the defence and it was Murphy who was able to run through and calmly tuck it away to level the match.
Just 10 minutes later the lead was ours after one of Rigby’s corners led to a bit of a goalmouth scramble that took Murphy’s calm head to curl into the bottom corner and deservedly give us the lead.
Things were kept a bit tight for most of the rest of the first half. Plenty of chances were created and on another day we’d have been 5 or 6 ahead at the break but we definitely left a few out there.
Moments before half time though, Hall Green conceded a free kick near their box and Lauren Rigby was sufficiently tempted to go for goal and struck the free kick beautifully into the top corner that despite the goalkeeper’s best efforts it crept over the line to put us 3-1 up at half time.
The second half was a case of keeping up the effort and making sure we kept focused on the job at hand and with 10 minutes gone Georgia Bull broke through and could easily have scored herself but was completely unselfish in squaring the ball for Rachel Dean to tuck away for her first of the day.
Chances were coming thick and fast with Bull, Smith, and Vicky Robinson all going close before Murphy completed her hat-trick with a cracking strike from distance that wowed all in attendance.
Best chance of the day perhaps fell to Rachel Dean who left the cross bar shaking with an outrageous, outside-of-the-boot, chipped effort that deserved to be a goal, but Sunday was truly the Shirley Murphy show as she added her fourth of the day with a curling effort after some great hold-up play from Brydie Greenwood.
It was not all going in our favour though as a defensive mixup ultimately led to an own goal scored by Kath Raw that did not do much to dampen spirits in what was a very solid defensive effort for the most part.
The scoring was not done though and in the 81st minute Murphy turned creator as her accurate cross put a chance on a plate for Rachel Dean who smashed in a stunner of a volley.
Two minutes later we closed our account for the day with another goal for Murphy that slipped under the goalkeeper’s body in one of her only mistakes despite the high scoreline.
It was a brilliant attacking display from Farsley and with some clear areas of improvement to target, they can take a lot of confidence into the upcoming visit of Golcar United.