Second-half - second Farsley Celtic goal - penalty from Ben Atkinson

Nantwich Town were undone by a late penalty as they lost 2-1 away at promotion rivals Farsley Celtic, writes Steve Sharman.

James Lawrie netted his fifth league goal of the season with a neat header bringing the game level in the second period after Adam Clayton had given Farsley a first half lead.

But a controversial penalty four minutes from time for Celtic was converted by Ben Atkinson as the hosts took all three points.

Manager Dave Cooke made one change from the last league outing at Matlock as Joe Mwasile replaced Callum Saunders, with the latter dropping to the bench which also contained Danny Glover and Ricardo Fuller.

It was the hosts who started the brighter as neat build up play down the right resulted in a deflected effort from Clayton being brilliantly saved by Will Jaaskelainen.

The keeper on loan from Crewe then comfortably saved a curling shot from Luke Parkin.

First-half - Joe Mwasile fights for the ball

But he could do nothing about Clayton’s far post header as the Celtic defender found the net from Parkin’s corner to give Celtic a 17th minute lead.

Lawrie had a great chance to bring his side level 10 minutes later as he capitalised on a poor back pass from Jack Higgins, but the midfielder fired over the bar with just Kyle Trennery in the Farsley goal to beat.

Mwasile had the Dabbers next opportunity as he cut in from the right hand side but fired a powerful left footed effort wide of the upright as Farsley went into the break one goal ahead.

Nantwich began the second period the better as Cooke saw his curling effort deflect inches past the far post with Trennery a helpless spectator, before Toby Mullarkey headed over from the resulting corner.

Cooke went close again not long after as he shot straight at Trennery from close range after the hosts were unable to deal with Louis Barnes cross from the left with Mwasile then seeing his shot from the edge of the box go agonisingly past the post.

First-half - first Farsley Celtic goal - Adam Clayton

Caspar Hughes’ marauding run from deep saw the Dabbers next chance but the captain was unable to keep his shot down as he fired over the bar from the edge of the box.

The introduction of Glover from the bench then nearly had an immediate effect as his effort was spilled by Trennery with the keeper able to gather on the second attempt.

Trennery was being kept busy as the Dabbers cranked up the pressure.

He denied Joe Malkin inside the box after a teasing low cross from Lawrie, before the Farsley defence managed to deny Jamie Morgan whose low shot was deflected away to safety.

The second half dominance eventually paid off 13 minutes from time as Lawrie rose highest to glance in Cooke’s cross, to the delight of the strong Dabbers following behind the goal.

First-half - Joe Malkin on the ball under pressure

Glover then nearly put his side ahead as he raced onto Hughes’ long ball but was only able to clip his effort wide before the game’s main talking point came about four minutes from time.

Farsley full-back Lewis Turner tumbled in the Nantwich box and referee Ben Atkinson adjudged he had been fouled by Joel Stair despite strong claims there had been no touch.

That left the referee’s name sake to step up and crash home the penalty into the top corner.

Cooke’s free kick was as close as Nantwich came in the dying moments but the midfielder’s effort went over the bar as the Dabbers suffered their first away defeat in the league since the 4-0 loss to South Shields back in September.

Next up for the Dabbers is a Cheshire Senior Cup quarter-final this Tuesday as Chester visit the Weaver Stadium with a 7.45pm kick off.

Admission is £8 for adults, £5 for concessions and £2 for U16s.

Nantwich Town: Jaaskelainen, Morgan, Barnes, Stair, Mullarkey, Hughes (c), Mwasile (Glover 65′), Bell, Malkin (Saunders 82′), Lawrie. Subs not used: Bourne, Cotterell, Fuller

pics by Jonathan White)

Second-half - captan Caspar Hughes shot at goal

Second-half - Farsley Celtic keeper Kyle Trennery blocks the ball under pressure from Joe Malkin

Second-half - Joe Malkin wins the header from captain Danny Ellis

Second-half - Jamie Morgan holds the ball under pressure

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