HomeSTATSMatch ReportsSeason 2016/17Stalybridge Celtic 0-1 Chorley 17/04/2017

Stalybridge Celtic 0-1 Chorley 17/04/2017

Monday April 17th

A first half header from captain Andy Teague was all that separated the two sides at the end, but in truth the Magpies should and could have won more comfortably with a little bit of luck in front of goal.

Celtic are battling for their National League survival and had beaten the division’s top two sides in the previous two home games; beating Fylde 2-1 then Kidderminster 1-0, so today was never going to be a gimme.

The path to victory was even more difficult for the Magpies with Kieran Charnock joined fellow central defender Stephen Jordan on the side-lines, meaning Matt Challoner had switch to central defence with Waqas Azam making a rare league start.  Add to this an injury to Ritch Branagan midway through the first half that left the keeper struggling for the remainder of the game, but to a man the ten players in front of him did everything they could to protect the injured stopper.

The match kicked off with Chorley heading up the Bower Fold slope and Jack Sampson almost capitalised on home keeper Grant Shelton dropping the ball, but Sampson’s quick effort from 20 yards was cleared off the line.

Celtic didn’t sit back and on twelve minutes a left-wing cross was headed narrowly wide of Branagan’ goal.

Dale Whitham and Marcus Carver couldn’t believe their luck minutes later when first of all the crossbar denied Whitham then Carver’s show on the rebound was deflected wide for a corner.

Stalybridge then had a spell of pressure with two crosses in from the left flank.  The first Branagan gathered comfortably but when he went for the second he took a heavy collision and required treatment.  It looked touch and go whether he’d be able to continue, but he did, and probably to his annoyance the game restarted with a free-kick for off-side.

Shenton was forced to punch a free-kick clear following a foul on the impressive Azam then a similar foul at the other end on Scott Leather won a free-kick, but neither tackle was sanctioned by the referee.

Adam Blakeman delivered the free-kick into the box and captain Teague rose to nod the ball beyond everyone, floating it beautifully into the far corner to send the travelling army wild.

Azam, a threat going forward all afternoon down the right flank delivered a perfect cross into the box soon after, shame no-one was there to convert then Celtic, in a rare foray forward, blasted a shot over from 25 yards.

Five minutes before the break Sampson picked up the first card of the game following a 50/50 challenge midway into the Celtic half.

Second before the interval Carver cut through the Celtic back line but a spectacular full stretch save from Shenton kept out his curling shot that looked destined for the top corner.

After the restart the game struggled to flow with too many interruptions from the referee.  Some were unnecessary as the game is a contract sport, while others that were went unpunished despite the standard being set earlier when Sampson’s challenge was.

Celtic rejigged their formation and personnel early in the second period and started to get more joy in the midfield battle.

When the football started with takeover, Teague showed his skills on the wing, dribbling through a series of players, creating an opening for Blakeman via Whitham, but the drive flew wide of the post.

Branagan was forced into a smart low save with quarter of an hour to go, pushing a low effort wide while still in obviously discomfort from the earlier challenge.

Jason Walker replaced Carver to add guile to the attack then Josh O’Keefe came on for Azam as Matt Jansen switched the Magpies formation to counter Celtics changes, and these changes worked as the Magpies regained supremacy for the final stages of the game, though there were no additions to the score line.

A final word to the supporters, who travelled in numbers today with an estimated 400 making the journey to roar the Magpies closer to the play-offs.

Starting XI: Ritchie Branagan, Matt Challoner, Paul Jarvis, Andy Teague, Waqas Azam, Scott Leather, Adam Blakeman, Dale Whitham, Marcus Carver, Jack Sampson, Jake Cottrell

Subs: Jason Walker (), Louis Myers, Josh O'Keefe (), Will Beesley, Adam Roscoe

Att: 761

Goal: ANDY TEAGUE (31) Man of the Match: Andy Teague; a typical Teague performance and lead the side to protect Branagan.

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