Match Preview Celtic look to bridge the gap at Curzon Ashton
Monday 30th January 2017 @ 14:38 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Stalybridge Celtic’s battle against the dreaded drop continues this evening at an in-form Curzon Ashton.

The club are currently 12 points adrift of safety and face a Curzon side brimming with confidence, having collected maximum points from their previous two games against league leaders AFC Fylde and play-off chasing Darlington 1883.

While John Flanagan’s side are not mathematically assured of safety this season, the prospect of being sucked into a relegation battle is extremely slim after Saturday’s result in the north east.

The 3-1 victory at Darlington, courtesy of efforts from Ryan Hall and a Matthew Warburton brace, has lifted the Nash to a season high of 13th spot.

If Curzon can maintain this recent form then it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the club can finish the season in a higher position than last season’s historic best of 11th spot.

However, in order to do so, the club will need to take their recent performances into tonight’s game against a Celtic side fighting for their lives.

Since taking the managerial reins at Bower Fold in September following Liam Watson’s departure, Paul Phillips and Steve Halford have assembled a new-look squad which, on paper, look more than capable of avoiding the drop.

In reality, though, things haven’t worked out quite so nicely.

In fact, the managerial duo, who famously guided Ashton United to three consecutive playoff charges, have only managed three victories in 17 league encounters.

While statistics don’t reflect too kindly on the club, the duo have, in all fairness, had to deal with some serious player upheaval.

Upon arriving at the club in September, Phillips and Halford inherited a squad which had won on the opening day of the season at Boston United but then lost seven consecutive league fixtures.

This made for grim reading and the pair were unwilling to deal with it any longer, instead opting to recruit a batch of players from Ashton united who they felt were capable of leading the club to better times.

But less than five months since taking their first game in charge against Gainsborough Trinity – which ended in a 3-2 victory for Celtic – the club has been unable to find a winning mentality and their problems continue to grow.

As far football clichés go, every game is a must-win for Celtic now.

An inability to do so will undoubtedly condemn the club to its first relegation in 15 years.

Tonight’s game is taking place at the Tameside Stadium.

Ticket Prices:
Adults £12
Concessions £6
Students £3