Late drama as Reds level deep in stoppage time
The most dramatic finale saw Reds salvage a point with Matty Douglas heading home a 96th minute equaliser.
And on an afternoon when below par Reds looked dead and buried, this late flurry of activity said much for the character in this tightly-knit squad.
Trailing 3-1 in the ninetieth minute, Scott Allison volleyed home what we thought was a late consolation goal but, thanks to a generous referee, the time added on became a controversial topic.
Yes, there had been all the usual stoppages – four substitutions, a few injuries, a penalty and the normal time wasting gimmicks all teams are guilty of (one player tying an undone lace fifty yards away from the throw-in he was about to take) but, even so, the unexpected bonus time, Fergie time if you like, was condemned in the blue corner and greeted with relief in the red corner.
Rightly praised for their defensive work of late, Reds were all at sea on their first visit to Throstle Nest for eight years and James Walshaw had a field day, reminding all that he is still one of the best strikers around.
He ran Reds ragged at times, most of the game actually, and deserved to finish on the winning side if anyone did.
For once we couldn’t accuse our heroes of a ‘slow start’ and a bright opening was rewarded with the opening goal in the ninth minute.
Goalkeeper Graeme McKibbin’s poor clearance was picked up by Sam Joel, who advanced towards goal, fed the ball to Conor Tinnion on his left and an unerring finish gave Workington an early advantage.
The joy was short-lived, though, and Celtic were back on terms less than three minutes later. An Aaran Taylor punched clearance was kept alive in the area and Walshaw dived to head home the equaliser from close range.
McKibben was then substituted but, if anything, his replacement, Kyle Trenerry, strengthened the Farsley team.
Back to Mr Walshaw who brought the best out of Taylor, the latter diving low to his right to keep out an attempt heading for the bottom corner.
He had his say, though, in the twenty-eighth minute when more sloppy defending proved costly. Walshaw was given all the time and room he needed to put the hosts ahead.
Joel’s trickery was coming off for once and he looked a threat when Reds ventured forward. He narrowly missed the target with one effort while his second attempt was well saved by the substitute ‘keeper.
The half ended with Walshaw dragging another shot wide at one end and Dav Symington a fraction too high with one of his trademark free kicks.
Reds resumed in positive fashion but a teasing low cross from the impressive Jordan Holt found no takers as the ball skimmed across the six yard box.
But more defensive carnage from Reds resulted in Dan Wordsworth dragging down Walshaw for the most blatant of penalties. The league’s top scorer had previously converted seven spot-kicks this term but he couldn’t beat Taylor who enhanced his reputation as a penalty stopper with a comfortable save.
Back came Reds with Joel denied once again by Trenerry who then appeared to have a Holt shot covered which rattled the upright.
Symington has provided many an assist in his time at the club but won’t want reminding of his latest. Obviously unaware the prolific Walshaw was lurking with intent, the former’s back pass was well short of Taylor and the Yorkshire hit-man accepted the gift, completing his hat-trick with the easiest of his twenty one goals this term.
And that seemed to be the end as far as Reds were concerned with Taylor keeping the score respectable by saving well to thwart Ryan Watson’s low shot.
But credit to Reds, as poor as they had been there was no towel thrown in.
A free kick in the ninetieth minute sparked the late drama from ten-to-five onwards. Wordsworth sent a free-kick into the Farsley area, Nathan Waterston won the header and guided the ball into Allison’s path and the latter despatched the ball in style with a finish even Walshaw would have approved of.
Waterston was inches away from equalising himself as good play on the right opened up Celtic as ‘added time’ passed the five minute mark.
There was still time, not sure why, for one last throw of the dice. Another free kick, this time from Gari Rowntree, was launched into Celtic territory and there was Douglas leaping high to guide his header into the net for the sixth and most celebrated goal of the afternoon.
Picture the contrast in emotions at the final whistle. Those in blue were distraught whilst the Reds celebrated their good fortune.
David Hewson didn’t know whether to laugh or cry in his post match assessment but it was bordering on the former.
“To be 3-1 down, dead and buried and then comeback like we did is unbelievable. You get one back and think maybe, just maybe, one more chance, one more ball in the box, who knows what can happen. That’s football, very cruel at times and cruel on Farsley but obviously jubilation for us to come away with a point!”
Farsley Celtic McKibbin (Trenerry, 17), Pollard, Baldwin, Atkinson, Ellis (Harris, 81), Clayton, Atkinson, Watson, Walshaw, Parkin (Priestley, 70), Walker. Substitute – Porritt, Bett (not used).
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Smith, Earl (McLuckie, 57), Symington, Holt, Allison, Joel (Waterston, 76), Tinnion. Substitutes – Wilson, Mellen, Harker (not used).
Referee Matt Sowerby, Harrogate
Bookings: Atkinson, Priestley (Farsley Celtic)