In a game where Celtic dominated in large parts, Macclesfieldâ€™s second half display ultimately took the 3 points away from Stalybridge.
The game kicked off with an early scare from the away side, 4 for Macclesfield made a run down the left wing, passing to 12 who had positioned herself well in the box. Christine Moss made a daring tackle, allowing 4 to retain the ball on the edge of the box. Katie Nix ran towards the danger, making an excellent block before chasing the ball out for a goal kick.
Celtic retaliated immediately, Moss intercepted a throw-in for Macclesfield on the left wing, making a quick run up field. Moss beat 8 and made easy work of 14 towards the halfway line. The ball was passed to Chantelle Barret, who quickly moved the ball up field towards Moss. However, the Macclesfield keeper raced out of her area and beat her to the ball, kicking it out of play.
Barret produced the first real chance of the game, Celtic defender Bernadete McQuaid collected the ball from a Macclesfield long ball just inside of the oppositionâ€™s half. McQuaid played it forward towards Barret, who connected with the ball amidst a crowd of opposition defenders. She shot wide from just outside of the area, keeping the score level. Barret changed this in the 12th minute, collecting a sharply placed ball from Nix on the halfway line. Barret made no mistake this time, running towards the box with little resistance before finishing into the bottom corner.
Macclesfield equalised in the 25th minute, reclaiming possession just within the Celtic half. 8 kicked the ball upwards towards 15 on the left wing, cutting into the box and finishing inside the top corner from a tight angle.
Stalybridge reclaimed their lead in the 32nd minute, 14 passed to the Macclesfield keeper to evade Celtic strikers Mary Smithies and Barret. The keeper panicked and misplaced the pass, gifting the ball to Smithies who made no mistake in bringing the score to 2-1. Celtic gave themselves some further breathing space in the later stages of the first half, a composed counter-attack from the Celtic half saw Victoria Hodgkiess reclaim possession from outside the box. Lauren Handley placed an accurate pass on the left wing for Barret, who beat 2 defenders and fired a low-driven ball into the bottom corner to complete her brace.
Going into half time, Macclesfield brought themselves back into the game. 12 claimed possession on the right wing and made a solo run into the box. A low driven shot into the bottom corner brought the score to 3-2.
The second half instantly showcased a very different Macclesfield side. 12 made a darting run down the right wing, firing into Burns who blocked the ball. Macclesfield got their equaliser in the 55th minute, an impressive counter-attack from a Celtic corner saw 15 run towards the halfway line. The ball was passed up towards 8, who finished from just outside the box.
Moss came close to regaining the lead for Celtic, a strong run up the right wing gave her an opportunity for a long-ranged attempt at goal. Her shot came close, just falling shy of the post. The game took a turn for the worse for Celtic in the moments before the full-time whistle. Macclesfieldâ€™s long ball up field gave the ball to 12 who had positioned herself outside of the box. 12 made the run, firing into the bottom corner for her brace and gifting Macclesfield a 4-3 victory.
Stalybridge Celtic next play Altrincham FC at Bower Fold on Sunday 31st 2021 (14:00).