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Celtic slump to defeat
Monday 11th February 2019 @ 09:55 by Mark Phillip
News

Evo-Stik Premier Division

Stalybridge Celtic 0-2 Witton Albion

Two goals from the visitors was a fair balance of the chances carved by the two teams with Celtic never really able to get any momentum in the game.

Celtic actually started brightly, with Dougie Nyaupembe putting in a couple of excellent crosses for Danny Cockerline. The first was a gift of a chance for Cockerline, the goal at his mercy and he stumbled the ball wide, the second saw quick reflexes from Greg Hall to smother at Cocckerline’s feet. Danny McKenna was given too much time and space to pick out a cross at the other end that led to Witton’s opener. Although Chris Smalley challenged Rob Hopley for the looping cross, Hopley got enough on the ball to lift it over Paddy Wharton and sneak in at the far post.

Celtic were getting their chances, but in need of target practice, with Greg Wilkinson’s low drive from the edge of the box wide of the mark, Andy Scott burst through with an interchange with Matty Wolfenden, but knocked his effort past the other post, whilst Wolfenden himself had a go, but again, couldn’t hit the target. Wharton was called into action just before the interval to deny Hopley his second when Hopley seized on a defensive error to go one-on-one with the keeper, but Wharton was superb, and blocked the low shot with his legs. Celtic’s best chance since going behind fell to Wilkinson, who fired through a crowd only to see Hall fly across and push the ball out for a corner.

Witton started the second half hitting both posts. The first saw Will Booth launch a thirty yard strike that clipped the post, before spinning out, whilst McKenna was at the edge of the box, with his effort striking the other upright. Liam Tongue’s first action after coming on was deflect Osebi Abadaki’s shot over the bar, with Wharton saving with a leg from Booth’s low drive through a crowd off the corner. 

Celtic were undone by a thirty-five yard throw from Matty Devine, launched into the box, flicked on by Hopley and bundled past Wharton by Tom Owens as he stumbled to reach the loose ball. 

With still quarter of an hour to play, Celtic really needed to up their game, but lacked the impetus to stretch the visitors defence, despite the visitors sitting back. Liam Tongue went agonisingly close with a free kick after Scott Bakkor was upended right on the edge of the box by River Humphreys. Bakkor was closer still when he fired Neil Kengni’s low cross over the bar and then on target, only for Anthony Gardner’s leg to whip the ball an inch over the post. Greg Hall kept his clean sheet bonus when Tongue tried his luck from the edge of the box forcing Hall into a decent stop, but in truth, his bonus never really looked in doubt.

By Deborah Taylor