Match report: First-team experience assists u23s victory.

Four Farsley Celtic first-team players, combined with the debut of former u21s defender TJ Kongolo, assisted the u23s’ 1-0 victory over i2i Black at York St John University Sports Park.

Jason Akiotu and Kyle Trenerry, alongside Academy graduates Majed Alasttal and Matty Ingham, helped Farsley’s second side take three points after Mwiya Malumo’s strike.

Farsley’s ‘keeper for the first-half, Ethan Cotton, had to react quickly on just 6 minutes to keep the game scoreless. I2i’s deep free-kick from the right bounced awkwardly in the Celts box and deflected off an attacker’s knee meant Ethan Cotton had to push the ball away from his right-hand post.

Farsley threatened twice in two minutes on the 10-minute mark. Firstly, Moussa Sidibe’s free-kick from 25-yards out, from the left, deflected off the wall and out for a corner.

Farsley continued the pressure in the i2i half with Fernández shooting inches wide of the top right corner. A throw-in from the right was aimed at the attacking midfielder who cut onto his left foot before hitting a powerful shot which curled away from goal.

Nahom found space in a similar central position a few minutes later and passed into the path of Sidibe’s central run from deep. The receiver is fast but not enough to stop the ball running behind.

The opening goal unsurprisingly followed shortly after, in Farsley’s favour.

Fernandez, close to crossing i2i’s touchline, sent a low delivery from the right to meet Malumo sliding at goal, in the box, to direct the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

The visitors had a perfect opportunity to at least test Cotton in goal and try to level the score but failed to capitalise on 34 minutes. A deflected cross from the right dropped perfectly to an attacker, but from beside the penalty spot, he sliced the shot over the bar.

Sidibe may have thought his powerful shot from the edge of the box would have doubled the lead in first-half injury-time until a quality quick reaction from the i2i ‘keeper. Sidibe’s pace again got him to the ball with enough time and space to shoot but the stopper launched his body to tip the ball round his right-hand post.

Sidibe, threatening with pace again, following the interval, received a pass from Kenneth Effah, on the half-turn, Sidibe now in a wider position. The midfielder chose the inside track and hit a right-footed shot which was saved low to the ‘keeper’s right.

Akiotu too went close just minutes later, cutting inside from the left and shooting narrowly wide of the near post.

The left wing-back then looked to assist the attack with a cross down the ‘corridor’ after another Farsley break. Fernández spun round his marker in the centre, on the half-way line before passing ahead of Akiotu. The wing-back crossed quickly behind the i2i defence with Farsley runners in the middle unable to catch up with play.

Again Sidibe was denied, one on one with the ‘keeper. Nahom’s flicked header landed perfectly into the run path of Sidibe who eventually poked the ball to goal but it was too close to the stopper.

Malumo arguably should have his second by his standards, in the 66th-minute but the goalscorer was too far under Nahom’s cross across the box from left to right, to keep the header down.

Sidibe struck the post a minute later, now at right wing-back. From the edge of the box, Sidibe continued his fine striking of the ball but the near post denied him.

i2i gifted Malumo’s next chance with a clearance deflecting off their own defender and turning towards goal and into the path of the Farsley goal scorer. He’s forced wide to the left of goal by chasing defenders and the ‘keeper covers his near post with a strong hand to push the shot out for a corner.

He couldn’t go any closer than his next effort, cleared off the line following Sidibe’s corner on 75 minutes. The forward benefits from a loose ball at the back post and pokes towards the centre of goal, beating the ‘keeper but a covering defender cleared.

Farsley’s defence had to make a perfectly timed block in order to maintain their lead on 83 minutes. I2i, from the edge of the box, shot at goal but with defenders in the flight path, Trenerry wasn’t tested.

Malumo again had one final effort before the full-time whistle, looking to extend the lead. He feinted his shot from the edge of the box not once but twice before finding enough space to shoot but the ‘keeper again covers his near left-hand post.

The i2i ‘keeper was in the Farsley box for his side’s corner in added-time but his team-mates’ flicked header flew over the stopper waiting at the back post, the ball running out for a goal kick.

Hemsworth Miners host the u23s just four days later as they continue their West Riding FA Development Premier Division season.