Stalybridge Celtic and Curzon Ashton have booked their place in the next round of the FA Cup – But what can we expect from their opponents?
Wednesday 21st September 2016 @ 14:51 by Mark Phillip
Ashton Football Sports Stalybridge

Of the seven local sides we cover, only Stalybridge Celtic and Curzon Ashton remain in the FA Cup.

Hyde United were the latest team to be purged from the competition after falling to a 2-0 defeat at Stockport County on Saturday, although many Hyde supporters will feel rightly aggrieved at the manner in which Stockport scored their opening goal from the penalty spot.

Nevertheless, the Tigers’ dream of making an impact in England’s oldest competition is over for another season, leaving Celtic and Curzon with the heavy burden of putting Tameside on the map for all the right reasons.

Since taking the reigns at Celtic at the start of September, Paul Phillips and Steve Halford have managed three league games; winning one and losing two.

However, the former Ashton United duo have extended the clubs stay in the FA Cup with victory over Witton Albion in a replay at Mossley’s Seel Park on Tuesday evening.

Goals from Matty Hughes and Andy Owens proved to be enough on the night, although Thomas Owens notched for Witton in the 81st minute to create a nervy ending.

In claiming victory, Celtic secured the £4,500 prize money and a place in the next round at fellow National League North outfit, FC Halifax Town.

The two sides have already met this season in a league fixture, which the Shaymen subsequently won 1-0.

Having encountered Billy Heath’s side earlier this month, the game could prove to be a rather different affair to the one supporters witnessed previously.

Since the two sides met earlier this month, Halifax have lost a league fixture at Gainsborough Trinity, but managed to make amends with a 5-0 victory over Ashton Athletic in the FA Cup last weekend.

Meanwhile, Celtic – who have introduced some new faces since Phillips and Halford’s took over, including Gary Gee, Adam Mather, Danny Wilkins and Jay Gorton from Ashton United – have lost 3-1 at Harrogate Town, but returned to winning ways against Witton on Tuesday.

Celtic will undoubtedly be hoping to progress in the FA Cup for many reasons; not least the financial rewards which accompany victory.

The club – and its supporters – will also be hoping that the squad can emulate Liam Watson’s success from last season.

Despite a rather turgid league campaign, Watson led his side to the first round proper at Doncaster Rovers Keepmoat Stadium.

As for Curzon Ashton, John Flanagan’s side might well be blowing a sigh of relief after edging their way to a 1-0 victory over AFC Consett on Tuesday evening in a 2nd qualifying round replay.

The Nash booked their place against Bedworth United in the next round courtesy of an own goal from Clark Kay in the 55th minute.

The FA Cup is renowned for producing shock results, so many Curzon supporters will be wondering who Bedworth are and what they’re capable of.

Well, looking at recent form, the Evo-Stik South outfit currently occupy 10th spot, having played six games, of which they’ve won two, drawn two and lost two.

Curzon supporters can take comfort in the knowledge that their opponents have lost two of their three away games this season.

Managed by Stuart Storer, Bedworth are on the road to 19th placed Kidsgrove Athletic this weekend, while Curzon host Stockport County.

The Nash ended their first stint in the National League North against the same outfit last season in a game that ended 0-0.

Kick off at the Tameside Stadium is scheduled for 3pm.