Football Previews
Tuesday 26th September 2017 @ 11:56 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Before the new season began, many pundits tipped Stalybridge Celtic to make an instant return to the National League North at the first time of asking.

However, those who predicted such a scenario will currently have egg on their face, as Steve Burr’s side are currently slumped at the foot of the Evo-Stik Premier table, having suffered nine losses and just two wins.

The Stalybridge Celtic boss has watched on in despair as his side have endured a worrying start to the season, leaving many to wonder whether Celtic will instead be embroiled in a relegation battle rather than a playoff push this season.

The latest defeat, a 4-0 loss at Coalville Town on Saturday, means the squad have conceded 24 goals this season and scored just ten.

Burr returned to the club towards the end of last season for a second spell in a last ditch attempt to keep the club up, and although he saw marked improvements and a couple of victories, the 57-year-old was unable to prevent the inevitable and Celtic went down.

A busy summer of signings saw no less than 18 new players join the club, although their impact on the pitch has so far been questionable, with striker Aaron Burns, regarded as one of the most notable recruits, leaving after just nine appearances with one goal to his name.

Celtic’s fortunes will need to change quickly if they are to avoid back-to-back relegations – starting tonight against struggling Halesowen Town, who sit second to bottom.

Halesowen have so far won two, drawn two and lost seven of their opening 11 games, scoring ten and conceding 20.

They will enter tonight’s game with a renewed sense of confidence, having salvaged a last minute equaliser against hotly-tipped Warrington Town on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Ashton United return to Hurst Cross this evening to take on Workington.

Jody Banim’s side made it three consecutive victories on Saturday with a 3-2 win at Nantwich Town, thanks to a Matt Chadwick brace – taking his tally to seven for the season – and Mark Lees’ fourth of the campaign.

The Robins’ league form has been impressive this season to say the least, and they find themselves sixth in the table having won six, drawn two and lost two.

A growing injury list means Banim has been unable to field a fully strengthened XI this season, making the club’s league form all the more impressive.

They will be hoping to extend their winning run to four games against a Workington side who are struggling so far.

Having missed out in the playoffs for a third consecutive time last season, Workington have struggled to emulate that form and find themselves in 18th place, having won three, drawn four and lost five.

David Hewson’s side have lost their previous two games, falling to a 3-2 defeat at Shaw Lane before losing 1-0 to Matlock Town on Saturday.

In the Evo-Stik First Division North, Mossley put last Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat at Scarborough Athletic behind them and cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Atherton Collieries on Saturday.

Adam Latham opened the scoring in the opening stages of the game before Jack Tuohy score the winning goal on the stroke of half-time.

The result leaves the Lilywhites 11th in the table, while tonight’s opponents, Ossett Town, enter the game just one place and two points below them.

Ossett were defeated in the playoffs last season and while they are yet to lose on the road this season, their home form is quite the opposite.

In fact, they have lost all three home games this season, giving Mossley a good chance of returning from West Yorkshire with maximum points this evening.

When the sides last met in league competition last season, Mossley lost on both occasions, falling to a 2-0 loss at Seel Park in September, before suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat in December.