Celtic slump to fourth straight defeat as relegation fears deepen
Monday 15th April 2019 @ 11:10 by Mark Phillip

Evo-Stik Premier Division

Hednesford Town 1-0 Stalybridge Celtic

But for an exceptional save, Celtic would have probably won this one, being on top for much of the game against a side that had little to offer beyond a solid defence.

For the opening half, Celtic were encamped around the Hednesford box, Chris Smalley’s rocket from a corner smacking Ben Bailey on route to goal, Michael Howard twisting and turning before cracking off a shot that just cleared the bar (there was a deflection but not given). However it was Hednesford who scored with their only attack, a long throw from Bailey was flicked past Patrick Wharton by Reece King for the game’s only goal. 

It wasn’t the highlight of the game though. That came moments later when Glenn Rule twisted his way towards the box, feeding Matthew Wolfenden to lift the ball to the back post for Michael Howard who smashed his shot for the top corner. Goalkeeper Jacob Weaver had no right to be able to get across the goal to reach the shot, but he did. He came across and got a hand to the shot which should still have been palmed into the roof of the goal, but instead just skimmed over it. It was that save that earned Hednesford the points as much as the goal. 

After Glenn Rule’s twenty-five yard effort cleared the bar he was involved in a couple of tussles with Dan Sweeney that culminated with Sweeney dismissed for violent conduct. Hednesford were already under the cosh, and this only increased. Howard again went close against his former club and Liam Tongue’s header from a corner was deflected over the bar, but given as a goal kick. Dan Cockerline was brought on to also face his former club, immediately going close and coming close to equalising for Celtic with a one-on-one after Scott Bakkor played him in, which the keeper won and a glorious opportunity at the far post that saw him dispossessed. 

The truth of the matter is that goals win games, and Celtic have scored nothing in the last three games, resulting in nothing on the board, dragging them closer to the bottom two.

By Deborah Taylor